Supplemental Health Insurance

Health insurance will not necessarily cover all your medical costs. Here’s how you can use supplemental insurance to avoid medical debt.


Health insurance doesn’t always cover 100% of the medical expenses you incur. That could leave you with a medical bill that you can’t afford to pay. If you know there’s a gap in your medical coverage, you should consider getting supplemental gap insurance. Medical bills have been cited as one of the biggest causes of bankruptcy in the United States. Even more surprising is that many people buried under medical bills were covered by a health insurance policy, only to find their policy didn’t cover all their medical expenses. A supplemental health insurance plan can help you avoid uncovered medical expenses.

Supplemental insurance is a type of insurance that pays for health care services and medical expenses after your primary health insurance has paid their share. Supplemental insurance can’t replace a regular health insurance policy. Instead, it should only be used to cover out-of-pocked expenses you may incur due to medical incidents.

High medical expenses aren’t just related to hospital stays and doctor fees, many expenses are caused by a specific medical issue. For example, you may lose wages if you go on disability; you may have to pay for childcare while you go to the doctor; or you may have to pay for extra transportation costs to go to and from the hospital. Regular health insurance plans don’t cover these expenses, but a supplemental health care plan may.


Supplemental insurance is often used in conjunction with Medicare; the federal health insurance for people who are older than age 65. While Medicare coverage pays for a portion of medical expenses, it doesn’t pay for all of them. A supplemental insurance policy – Medigap – will help fill in the gaps that aren’t covered by Medicare.

Medigap covers things like coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles that you’d ordinarily have to pay out of pocket. It doesn’t cover long term care, vision or dental care, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing expenses. Any company that sells Medigap insurance are also required to offer eligible Medicare plans – Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Medigap supplemental insurance can’t be used with Medicare Advantage Plan.

Types of Supplemental Insurance

Insurance providers offer different types of supplemental insurance that would cover you for a specific type of event.

Personal accident insurance covers medical expenses related to an accident, typically regardless of whether the accident happened on or outside of the job. The personal accident insurance would cover ambulance, hospital stay, and other out-of-pocket expenses that your primary insurer may not cover. Some accident insurance provides death benefits for a named beneficiary if the accident leads to death.

Disability insurance would provide you with a benefit that would help you with everyday living expenses if you’re not able to work because of an illness or injury. The plan will
cover a certain percentage of your regular income if you’re disabled. Your employer probably offers disability insurance, but you can’t keep that employer’s insurance coverage if you change jobs. A supplemental disability plan stays with you regardless of your employer.

Cancer insurance pays for cancer treatments that your insurance doesn’t cover. Cancer treatments, including hospital stays, doctor bills, and child care, can get expensive and primary insurance doesn’t always cover all these expenses. Having a supplemental insurance keeps you from racking up an expensive medical bill and allows you to continue with treatment.

Critical illness insurance covers expenses related to major illnesses. Illnesses include things like heart attack and multiple sclerosis. With this type of policy you can get a lump-sum benefit that can be used to pay for your illness-related costs that aren’t covered by your primary insurance coverage.

Many plans have no waiting periods for coverage; if you’re approved, the policy becomes effective immediately. The insurance provider may require you to have a physical exam to maintain your policy from year to year. If you’re self-employed, pregnant or planning to become pregnant, have a serious illness, or you’re not able to fund expensive medical bills, consider getting a supplemental insurance policy.