Secondary Vs. Supplemental Health Insurance

Secondary Vs. Supplemental Health Insurance

The differences between Secondary and Supplementary health care are subtle but significant. Secondary health insurance provides complete health care coverage, whereas supplemental insurance only supplements an existing primary care plan.

Choosing one of these healthcare options may be influenced by your budget and the coverage provided by your primary health insurance.

Secondary Health Insurance

After your primary insurance provider has processed your claim, a secondary insurance policy will pay the balance. This secondary coverage is a standalone policy that could be your sole health insurance if you only had one. If you are a senior citizen with an individual health insurance policy, Medicare is typically used as a secondary form of health insurance.

Private insurance typically covers more of your healthcare costs than Medicare. Your government healthcare is more likely to cover your remaining medical expenses than the total amount you need to bear as your primary health insurance.

Supplemental Health Insurance

Supplemental health insurance, also known as gap health insurance, provides additional coverage after your primary health insurance has paid your claim. A supplemental policy is not a self-contained insurance plan; it only works when linked to existing health insurance.

A supplemental policy will only cover what the primary policy does not. A supplemental insurance policy also provides less coverage than a primary or secondary insurance policy. Because of the smaller coverage umbrella, you are more likely to have a rebalancing on your medical bills.


Secondary health insurance can pay for procedures that your primary insurance company does not cover. It provides a broader range of protection and allows you to tailor each policy to minimize out-of-pocket expenses. Because it is not destined to be a standalone policy, supplemental health insurance is much less expensive than secondary insurance. If you are happy with your primary health insurance, a supplemental policy can help you save money on medical bills that your primary insurance provider does not cover completely.


Supplemental insurance will not cover enough of your medical expenses to cover the cost. In addition, if your supplemental health insurance is included in your Medicare plan, your coverage restrictions may be subject to state and nationwide coverage regulations.

On the other hand, a secondary health insurance plan will provide more coverage at a higher cost. The claim must also be submitted to your secondary provider by your primary insurance company. If the hand-off is delayed, your healthcare provider may bill you for the difference in coverage.


  • It provides more coverage than if you stick to a single plan.
  • It provides protection even if you lose your job or employer’s coverage.
  • There is an alternative to being covered under your spouse’s or parent’s health insurance policy with little or no cost.
  • If one plan fails to cover costs such as services or medical products, another will die too.


  • Having multiple health insurance plans does not protect you from out-of-pocket costs.
  • You’ll still have to pay deductibles and premiums for both plans rather than just one.
  • Benefit coordination provided by two separate insurance companies may be incompatible.
  • Multiple health plans only cover reasonable and customary amounts, so there’s no guarantee you’ll be fully covered when medical services or supplies are surcharged.

In conclusion, secondary health insurance is insurance that is usually purchased within the employer-sponsored group plan. Generally, it is broader in coverage and may be cheaper. Supplemental health insurance is insurance that an individual can purchase for coverage outside the employer-sponsored group plan.

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