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College Life

What is Supplemental Insurance

As we age our medical needs become more prevalent. At the same time, if one has retired one’s income is fixed, leaving less flexibility if an expensive procedure is needed or out-of-pocket expenses arise. This can create a real dilemma for some to budget for a medical emergency. Unfortunately there are many areas that the Medicare program does not adequately cover.

Thankfully there are options available to ensure that one can be covered if the necessity arises. One solution to this problem is Supplemental Medical Insurance, which will cover the gap between what Medicare will and will not pay for. It is essentially additional insurance for any expenses that do not fall under medicare. To qualify for supplemental medical insurance, enrollment in both Part A and Part B of the Medicare program is required.

Depending on the plan one chooses, one may be covered for out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles, co-payments and coinsurance. Some plans may make payments in one lump sum or spread the payments out over time. These payments may be used to cover medication, food, health related transportation, lost wages or any other unforeseen expense incurred as a result of injury or illness.


Medigap is one of the most common supplemental insurance plans and is sold by private insurance companies to individuals already enrolled in Medicare. Depending on the policy, one may also be eligible for certain health and preventative services when outside the United States of America.

Along with Medigap, the three most widely sold health insurance plans sold in the U.S. are Critical Illness insurance, Accidental Death Policies and Hospital Indemnity Insurance. Often these plans may be offered as a benefit from ones employer or purchased from an insurance provider.

Critical Illness Insurance

CSometimes known as disease-specific insurance, Critical Illness Insurance is a financial safety net from the monetary consequences of serious illnesses. These policies often provide a lump sum payment to lessen the burden of expenses incurred due to an illness. Coverage is policy dependent, but some common areas that the payments may be used for are: child care and household assistance, experimental treatment (most often related to cancer therapy), accommodation (where treatment requires travel), specialists and deductibles.

Accidental Death Insurance

Two polices are usually combined to cover Accidental Death: Accidental Death and Dismemberment and Accident Health Insurance. What is covered in the polices will vary depending on the state one lives in and the the local insurance regulations.

As a general rule, Accidental Death and Dismemberment will pay one a lump sum if you are the named beneficiary of the person killed in an accident. A smaller sum may be paid if the accident results in a loss of limb, paralysis or loss of vision. What is not covered under these plans is suicide or death due to illness.

Accident health insurance, depending on the policy, may cover costs as a result of an accident that are not payed for by one’s usual health insurance. It is possible, in some cases, to have these polices extended to cover such things as lodging, travel and extended home-care service expenses.

If one is confined to a hospital due to illness, Hospital Indemnity insurance may help to cover the costs. Depending on the plan, there may be a minimum waiting period before monies are paid. Two typical scenarios for payment are lump sum or daily/weekly payments.

A final word of advice is to check your policies carefully. Medical Supplement Insurance is heavily advertised and there is the common problem of purchasing unnecessary duplicate or overlapping coverage. While most plans are not too expensive, it is best not to incur any unnecessary costs.

Cris Brines is the CEO and innovative insurance executive at medicaresupplementshop.com. Our medicare supplemental health insurance professionals make the sometimes complicated process of selecting the right Medicare supplement plan much easier to understand by offering free, expert advice about the Medicare Supplement plans specific to your area. Our honest advice and good service will make the whole process just a little more bearable.

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