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supplemental insurance

What is supplemental insurance?

Supplemental insurance refers to an insurance policy that supplements your primary health insurance coverage. Supplemental insurance includes a variety of policies that can be offered by employers or purchased on their own, including:

  • Life insurance provides a death benefit to loved ones (beneficiaries). Term life insurance policies will only pay out if you die during a specific period of time (often 10, 20, or 30 years). Permanent life insurance (whole life or universal life) is more expensive but will pay your beneficiaries when you die, regardless of when that happens.
  • Short-term disability pays a percentage of your pre-disability income if you cannot work because of a disabling illness or injury. Typically, coverage is for six months or less.
  • Long-term disability pays a percentage of your pre-disability income if you cannot work because of a disabling illness or injury. Typically, coverage is longer than six consecutive months and may take effect when short term disability ends (for a person who has both types of coverage). 
  • Dental insurance covers a portion of basic dental expenses that you may incur, including procedures and treatments that generally improve and maintain your oral health.
  • Vision insurance typically covers some portion of the costs of annual eye exams, and a  portion of the cost of prescription glasses or contact lenses.
  • Accident insurance provides coverage that reimburses the insured in the event of a claim arising from an accident or injury.
  • Critical illness insurance is coverage that pays the insured a lump sum following the diagnosis of an illness covered under the plan. Critical-illness plans often cover diseases like cancer, organ transplant, heart attack, and stroke, among others.

Original Medicare enrollees have access to Medicare supplement insurance, otherwise known as Medigap coverage. Medigap plans pay some or all of the out-of-pocket costs for treatment that’s covered under Original Medicare, including coinsurance and deductibles.