Supplemental insurance for medical test

TA | April 20, 2009

Q: I have a high deductible health insurance policy. Is there such a thing as a supplement health insurance policy that I can use to help me pay the high deductible of $5000.00 I have not met my deductible this year, and have a medical test that I am suppose to take, which will be quite expensive. I will have to come up with about $4000. to met my deductible. Is there anything that I can do? The test cannot be prolonged.

A: It is increasingly common to supplement a high deductible health insurance (especially employer-provided policies) with a second limited benefit policy to help reduce these out-of-pocket costs. Popular brand names are Core Health Insurance, Basic Health Insurance, Value Med and Value Health that can be used alone or in combination. Supplemental policies generally have no deductible so they pair nicely with a policy like yours. 

Commercial health insurance plans have provisions called a "waiting period" to minimize the financial risk that the insurer would pay a substantial claim for a known pre-existing condition as you describe. Obviously the insurance would not be financially feasible if you knew that the benefit would be more than the premium cost prior to enrollment. So supplemental insurance should be viewed for its long term benefits rather than for how it will perform on the first claim.

You may be able to reduce the net cost of the test by applying by your provider's preferred network contract and that you pay the remaining balance with tax-deductible dollars through a Health Savings Account or similar plan. In combination, these may cut the net after-tax out-of-pocket cost of the test in half from $4,000 to about $2,000. If you do not have a PPO network pricing see ehealthdiscountplan.com. For more information about opening a Health Savings Account see www.healthsavingsaccount-hsa.com.


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