Should I get secondary (supplemental) health insurance?


If you feel that your primary health insurance is not enough and you have the money, then you can by all means get secondary or supplemental health insurance. But you have to make sure that the two policies are well-coordinated so that you are not paying twice for virtually the same benefit.

If those two policies cover the same thing, it does not make sense for you to get a second policy. So, you will have to take a look at what the second policy covers if you are thinking of a supplemental health insurance. You should make sure that the second policy covers what the primary policy does not - for instance, your deductibles and co-payments.

The benefit of having a secondary health insurance is that, when done right, it can limit your out-of-pocket expenses and provide you with a more comprehensive coverage.

For example, the primary insurance will pay for standard benefits minus the deductible and co-insurance. Then your secondary insurance will step in and pay for a portion of the deductible and co-insurance. However, you must not expect that you will completely get rid of your out-of-pocket expenses - you will end up paying a portion of these still even if you have two or more health insurance policies.

Remember, insurance will only pay once for any one event or expense so your primary and secondary providers should be well-coordinated. That way, the secondary insurance takes up the "slack" that the primary insurance does not cover.

Now, if you are married, you don't need to buy secondary health insurance in the individual market. Instead, you can designate the health insurance your spouse has with his or her employer as your secondary health insurance.

As for your children or dependents, if you and your spouse both have health insurance, one of your policies will be considered the primary cover and the other spouse's the secondary cover. A common way of knowing which is the primary and the secondary would be your birthdates. The spouse with the earlier birth month and day will have his or her policy counted as the primary cover.

Was this question and its answer useful?
Not a bit
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Very useful
Have a question about insurance? Ask the experts