By now you know that everyone has to have health insurance, right? Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, it’s the law.
If you don’t get insurance, either through your employer or through a government or private plan, you might have to pay a hefty penalty when you file your taxes next year (possibly over $2,000 for a family of four).
But did you know that health insurance doesn’t pay for everything?
Your policy probably has a deductible (money you have to pay before insurance kicks in) and co-pays (money you have to pay each time you visit the doctor or hospital). In 2015, the average deductible for individual coverage was $1,318.
There’s a limit on what you have to pay yourself, called an out-of-pocket maximum, but that limit can be pretty high. Plans available on the Affordable Care Act marketplace exchanges can have out-of-pocket maximums as high as $13,700 for a family plan. And that’s just for one year.
So, clearly there are some gaps in the health insurance safety net.
If you have this insurance and you are accidentally injured, you can get a check sent directly to you. The nice part is that you can use this money for anything.
You can use it to help pay that deductible or co-pay for the charges you racked up in the emergency room. You can use it to pay the sitter who watched your kids while you were at a follow-up appointment. You can use it to make up for the pay you lost when you had to take a couple of days off from work. Whatever you want.
The average cost to treat a broken arm is $2,500. Imagine the difference this coverage could make.
Critical illness insurance
This is similar to accident insurance in that it pays money directly to you to use however you wish. But this insurance covers more serious illnesses like heart attacks or strokes — some policies cover cancer. Because the money goes to you, you could even use it to pay for experimental treatments that your health insurance doesn’t cover at all.
Every insurance policy is different. They cover different types of injuries and illnesses, and have different rules and exceptions. Please be sure to read yours carefully so you know exactly what it covers, what it pays, and how to file your claim if you should ever need to. And check out healthcare.gov for details about the health care reform law.
When you think of the costs that could add up if you ever got hurt or seriously ill, you could feel overwhelmed. With supplemental insurance in your back pocket, however, you’ll know you’re protected. Ask your insurance provider if accident and/or critical illness coverage is right for you.