Ask This When Comparing Supplemental Insurance for Seniors

Choosing the right supplemental health insurance plan can shield aging Americans from thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical expenses. According to recent studies, the average senior in the United States spends $4,888 annually on deductibles, copayments and premiums. Upgrading to a supplement health insurance plan can help provide some relief and protection from these costs. While seniors who are in good health may not want to take on another premium for out-of-pocket expenses, these plans can save people from catastrophic healthcare expenses in the event of medical emergencies. Ask the following questions to learn more about protecting yourself from out-of-pocket costs with one of several supplemental health insurance plans.

Which insurance companies offer the best supplemental health insurance plans?
Many insurance companies offer supplemental health insurance plans for seniors, and pricing and plans may vary by location. However, two of the best companies to consider currently are through United Health Care (offered through AARP) and Humana.
Why should I consider coverage for coinsurance costs?
Many seniors are only covered for 80 percent of their medical costs after paying through their deductibles. The remaining 20 percent of out-of-pocket costs are known as coinsurance costs. While most young and middle-aged adults don't need to worry much about coinsurance costs, this becomes more of an issue for seniors who are more likely to require expensive medical care or live on a fixed income.
Which plan offers the best coverage for basic out-of-pocket costs?
This will depend on the insurance carrier you select and the plans they offer. When comparing supplemental health insurance plans, be sure to ask which plan will offer the best coverage for basic out-of-pocket expenses, if that is your primary concern. Beware, however, that some plans may come with higher premiums claiming to cover more out-of-pocket costs, but sometimes the costs covered won't typically be used, so paying the higher premium won't be worth it.
What is included in the supplemental health insurance plan?

This will depend on the plan you choose, with some plans featuring low premiums and moderate out-of-pocket costs, while others feature higher premiums but minimal out-of-pocket costs. When comparing plans, be sure to ask what is included in the plan, as well as what you can expect to pay for out-of-pocket expenses in order to determine the best plan for your needs.

Do supplemental health insurance plans require copays?
Some supplemental health insurance plans may require a copay. For example, one of the most popular plans offered by Humana requires a copay for certain situations, such as hospitalization. Check with your plan administrator before signing up for a plan to determine what copays and other out-of-pocket expenses will be required.
Will my supplemental health insurance plan cover dental or vision?
Certain plans may offer dental and vision coverage, along with supplemental health coverage. Talk to your plan administrator to determine whether or not they offer plans that also cover dental and vision, and what additional premiums or expenses you may expect.
How do I choose the best plan for my needs and budget?

Your first step should be comparing the different plans offered by different insurance companies. Once you've settled on an insurance provider you like, talk to a plan administrator so they can help you decide which plan will be best for your needs.

How much should I expect to pay for supplemental health insurance?
Supplemental health insurance plans vary widely depending on where you live, which plan you want and who your providers are. For example, a study by Weiss Ratings found the annual premiums for a 65-year-old woman to range anywhere from $516 to $10,788 -- and that was for policies that offered the same coverage. Always shop around and compare rates when considering supplemental health insurance, in order to get the best deal possible.

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