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Beyond Major Medical — 4 Supplemental Health Plans You Should Consider

Beyond Major Medical — 4 Supplemental Health Plans You Should Consider

Posted Oct 06, 2015 by Jenifer Dorsey

You buy your own health insurance. You’ve got a plan. You’re good to go. Right?

Maybe. You could still find yourself with plenty of out-of-pocket expenses related to healthcare. Dentist visits, deductibles, expensive medical bills—how will you pay for them? When you are an individual buying your own health insurance, there are ways to get additional healthcare coverage.

Consider this: People with access to job-based benefits often obtain more than health insurance through their employers. Common employee benefits packages include major medical health insurance, disability and life insurance, dental and vision insurance, and paid vacation and sick time.

If you are responsible for buying health insurance for yourself and your family, adding supplemental coverage to your major medical plan is one way to create a customized benefits package and gain additional financial protection from unexpected medical expenses. These plans can help pay out-of-pocket healthcare expenses  not covered by your Obamacare plan.

Dental insurance

Routine dental exams and cleanings are important to good oral health. They help prevent tooth decay and gingivitis, which can lead to cavities and gum disease.1,2 Studies show that people with private dental insurance have more dental visits than those without private dental insurance.3

Not all state-based and federally facilitated health insurance exchanges sell dental plans for adults and it is not standard practice for major medical health plans to cover preventive dental care. That means trips to the dentist will likely be on your dime. 

Many dental insurance plans cover two professional exams and cleanings per year at or near 100 percent. According to the American Dental Association, when combined with good oral hygiene, these visits can prevent most dental disease.4 If you do require more than preventive dental care, a dental insurance plan may help you lower the cost of fillings and other dental work—always verify plan benefits and details before you buy.

Critical illness coverage

In a recent survey, 29 percent of Americans reported they had no emergency savings and 22 percent said they had enough to pay for at least six months of expenses—the amount recommended by financial experts.5 That means, when diagnosed with a critical illness, it’s unlikely most Americans are financially prepared. 

Critical illness coverage pays a lump sum cash benefit upon diagnoses of a serious condition such as cancer, heart attack, stroke and major organ failure, among others. The payment may be used for non-covered medical care, mortgage or car payments, travel to and from appointments or anything else you choose.

Telemedicine

Visiting the doctor can consume a lot of time and money—missed work, travel and waiting room time, and medical bills that you may be fully responsible for if you haven’t reached your deductible. 

Telemedicine can be a helpful solution for busy people. It allows you to talk to a board-certified physician anytime, anywhere and receive over-the-phone care for minor medical conditions such as cold, flu, allergies, pink eye and more. The cost is typically less out of pocket than an office visit—$15 per consultation when you enroll in telemedicine through healthedeals.com

Gap coverage

Health insurance deductibles can leave consumers with high out-of-pocket costs. Several studies show that despite Obamacare’s tendency toward lower monthly premiums, people with private ACA-compliant health insurance plans still struggle with high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.6,7

Gap plans such as Metal Gap and Metal Gap 2 can help with the bills when you incur accident- and illness-related expenses. When a covered event occurs, gap plans pay you a lump-sum benefit that you can use in whatever way is most helpful to you—medical bills, household expenses, credit card balances, it’s your decision. 

Gap plans available at healthedeals.com are guaranteed issue, which means you qualify regardless of medical history.

Wait, there’s one more: short term health insurance

If you find yourself without major medical benefits—maybe you lose your Obamacare coverage or are in between plans for any reason—a short term health insurance plan can be a smart temporary solution.

Short term health plans provide some benefits to help with unexpected healthcare expenses. They last 30 to 364 days, depending on your state’s law and your individual needs, and you can enroll in coverage as soon as the day before you need it.

Are any of these supplemental plans ACA compliant? 

No. Supplemental health benefits plans are not subject to the requirements under the Affordable Care Act. They do not qualify as minimum essential coverage. However, they can complement your Obamacare health insurance coverage.

Where to buy supplemental plans

Many supplemental plans allow you to select benefits options and customize coverage to your health and financial needs. Crunch the numbers and get a quote; you are likely to find these plans cost only a few extra dollars each month for benefits that will help offset out-of-pocket expenses. 

You can’t buy supplemental health benefits from HealthCare.gov or state-based exchanges. You can buy this coverage from health insurance agents and brokers as well as on private exchanges created by health insurance companies, consulting groups and marketing organizations.  

HealtheDeals.com is an example of a private exchange where you can get quotes and enroll in multiple supplemental benefits plans. 

Get more benefits

If you need help finding the right supplemental plans for you and your family or have questions, call 888-839-7679 to speak with an IHC representative.


Legal Disclaimers

1 American Dental Association. “Decay.” http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/decay

2 American Dental Association. “Gum Disease.” http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/g/gum-disease       

3 Bloom, Barbara, Cohen, Robin. “Dental Insurance for Persons Under Age 65 Years with Private Health Insurance: United States, 2008.” NHCS Data Brief No. 40. June 2010. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db40.pdf

4 American Dental Association. “Oral Health.” MouthHealthy.org. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/oral-health

5 Herron, Janna. “Americans Still Lack Savings Despite Bigger Paychecks.” Bankrate. June 23, 2015. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/consumer-index/americans-still-lack-savings-despite-wage-growth.aspx

6 Riffkin, Rebecca. “Cost Still a Barrier Between Americans and Medical Care.” Gallup. Nov. 28, 2014. http://www.gallup.com/poll/179774/cost-barrier-americans-medical-care.aspx

7 Hamel, Liz, et al. “Survey of Non-Group Health Insurance Enrollees, Wave 2.” The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. May 21, 2015. http://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/survey-of-non-group-health-insurance-enrollees-wave-2/