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Should I consider secondary health insurance coverage?

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If you watched the video, you learned about the different coverage options available to you beyond basic medical plans. Now read how Peggy, Cecilia, DeWayne and Kevin all use special policies to prepare for the unexpected financial and health challenges life sends their way.

Dental plan: Peggy learns something new.

Peggy, 38, is a married mom living in Raleigh, North Carolina. A front desk agent at a local hotel, she bought dental insurance from her employer even though the family has medical coverage through her husband Jim. She’s glad she did: Peggy cracked a filling on a popcorn kernel and needs a repair. Since she chose a more comprehensive plan, she’ll pay only a fraction of the cost to get a new filling.

Within a week, a parent in her toddler’s play group gives her some news. Experts now recommend that little ones have their first dental appointment by age 1, or shortly after the first baby tooth comes in. Her 2-year-old son is overdue! Peggy is delighted to discover her plan covers her son’s visit.

Discover 5 fun ways to get your kids to brush their teeth.

Vision plan: Cecilia sets her sights on a style upgrade.

Cecilia, 27, is single and living in Miami, Florida. The copy editor at a local magazine has worn prescription glasses since she was a young girl. She wants to update to a more stylish frame this year and knows that her vision plan gives her an annual frame allowance, as well as a reduction in the cost of prescription lenses. If she wanted to try out contacts, she could use her lens benefits for those instead. Either way, Cecilia will be looking her best and protecting her vision for the long term.

20/20 vision? Why you still need an eye exam.

Hospital plan: DeWayne’s investment pays off.

DeWayne, 49, is a divorced father living in Philadelphia. An accountant, he’s always weighing the financial considerations of every expense. He has a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) through his employer, and also opts for a hospital indemnity plan. Even though his family is healthy, he knows an unexpected hospital stay can run $10,000, and the additional plan would help pay for out-of-pocket expenses like his high medical deductible.

Not long after, DeWayne’s daughter is hospitalized with appendicitis. His hospital plan pays a lump-sum benefit that helps offset her medical bills ― and allows this father to focus on his little girl during her recovery.

Learn how you can prepare for a smoother recovery before your next hospital visit.

Disability plan: Kevin’s road to recovery.

Kevin, 52, married his high school sweetheart in their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, where they’re raising four kids. He rarely got sick ― until now. After feeling extremely fatigued, Kevin checked in with his Primary Care Physician, who found blockages in his arteries. A stent procedure was unsuccessful, so Kevin will have to undergo bypass surgery. Because he doesn’t have any other major health problems, his surgeon expects a full and speedy recovery. But he’ll be out of work for 8 to 12 weeks.

The family depends on Kevin’s income to cover their major expenses. Fortunately, he has a short- and long-term disability plan through his employer. Kevin will receive 60 percent of his income while he’s out of work, and the family will use savings and reduce expenses to help make up the difference. If all goes well, he’ll only need to use his short-term disability plan. If complications delay his recovery, he’ll start collecting long-term disability. Knowing that his family’s financial needs will mostly be covered may help Kevin worry less and heal faster.

Find out more about how emotions affect recovery.

Key takeaways about optional insurance coverage

A variety of other insurance choices are available beyond medical. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Insurance plans that offer additional benefits to your basic medical plan are called “voluntary” or “supplemental” plans. * Dental plans typically cover routine teeth cleanings and preventive care, as well as procedures like fillings and extractions.
  • Vision plans usually cover routine eye exams and help cover prescription lenses (glasses or contacts) and frames.
  • A hospital indemnity plan gives you a lump-sum check if you’re admitted. You can use it to pay for out-of-pocket medical costs such as deductibles and coinsurance, or toward non-medical expenses such as rent and utilities.
  • Hospital indemnity plans are a popular supplement to high-deductible health plans.
  • Disability plans come in handy when you’re injured or ill, because you’ll still receive a portion of your income to pay for day-to-day expenses.