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There are many different types of supplemental health insurance. Some cover several different kinds of medical services. Others provide a lump sum to the beneficiary when a certain covered event takes place. Still others act similar to regular health insurance but may only be available for a certain amount of time.

No matter their differences, however, all supplemental health insurance plans have something in common. They help extend your regular health insurance benefits to keep you from going through financial strain in the event of an accident or a covered claim.

Read on to learn more about supplemental medical insurance, short-term insurance and even gap plans that you can add to government insurance programs.

What Does Supplemental Health Insurance Cover?

Sometimes called “gap” health plans, supplemental insurance helps pay for out-of-pocket costs that your regular health insurance does not cover. Some policies even help pay for non-medical expenses that can arise from unexpected injuries and other events.

Here are just a few of the types of supplemental plans out there:

  • Dental and vision insurance. Usually sold as separate products, these policies work similarly to health insurance, except that they help pay for services that health insurance usually does not cover. In the case of dental insurance, these may include oral cleanings, fillings, root canals and much more. Vision insurance may cover yearly vision exams, prescription glasses and more.

  • Short-term health insurance. Unlike other types of supplemental insurance that get added on top of regular insurance, short-term health insurance is often used to fill a coverage gap. For example, if you just started a new job and are waiting for your employer benefits to begin, you may consider enrolling in a short-term health plan that would help cover you in case of emergencies.
  • Accident insurance. These policies are sometimes sold as accidental death and dismemberment insurance, hospital indemnity insurance, critical illness insurance, short-term disability insurance and more. Often, these plans will pay out a lump sum after a covered accident or injury. You can then use the money to offset your out-of-pocket costs, replace a portion of your missed paychecks or however else you see fit.
  • Medigap insurance. Even if you have insurance through Medicare, you can still extend your coverage with supplemental plans called “Medigap.” These are private insurance plans that help fill gaps in your Original Medicare (Parts A and B). They are split into 10 different categories, each one offering different coverage depending on your needs.

Is Supplemental Health Insurance Right for You?

There are some supplemental insurance policies that can benefit almost anyone, such as dental insurance and vision insurance. These are relatively affordable compared to regular health insurance and would probably make financial sense if you go to the dentist or eye doctor a few times a year.

Other policies, however, are much more specific and may offer you more or less value depending on your situation. When choosing a plan, follow these tips:

  • Figure out what is missing from your health insurance policy that you would like coverage for.rnAssess your health risk to decide if certain illness insurance plans may provide a good value for the price.rnOnce you have chosen a type of insurance, compare plans from different companies to make sure you are getting the best one for you.