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Is supplemental insurance a type of health insurance?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Yup! In general, supplemental insurance is a private health insurance policy that helps cover some of the large number of gaps in your current health insurance coverage. Medigap is a type of supplemental insurance for people with Medicare. Disease-specific insurance, dental insurance, and vision insurance are also types of supplemental insurance.

As with any insurance policy, read the fine print, so you know what you are buying (some serious time and magnifying glasses are needed). You’ll need to know what that policy covers to make sure it doesn’t overlap with what you already have, and actually provides some real benefits. Some things in the policy are considered cons -- you pay and assume protections and benefits until you need care, and then the fine print means that whatever exclusion is written in the fine print means no benefits for you.

Supplemental insurance is an umbrella term that encompasses any policy that complements, in some way, your primary health insurance policy. Some supplemental policies cover medical related expenses or provide benefits if you are diagnosed with a particular disease, other policies offer lump sum payments if you meet certain requirements like hospitalization or you miss work for a certain period of time. Supplemental insurance may cover dental or vision, accidents or disabilities. Supplemental policies, called Medigap, are also available for people with Medicare to cover the gaps left by Medicare coverage.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.