Supplemental Insurance

2013 hasn’t been the best year for me physically. Nothing major, thankfully, just several random, weird incidents: A sprained ankle in April that still won’t heal, a bug in the ear in June, and a sprinkling of other random medical issues just to keep me on my toes. Thankfully I have pretty awesome Health Insurance through my job. But even still, it hasn’t been a cheap year. A $750 deductible, numerous copays, and 20% coinsurance add up quickly!

Even with all the bills rolling in, I haven’t had to sweat the costs too much. First off, I was able to use the money in my Flexible Spending Account to offset some of the expenses. This account is offered through my employer, and allows me to save up to $2,500 annually pretax to use towards qualified medical expenses. Most years I have very few medical expenses, and since the account is set up on an annual “use it or lose it”, I only contribute $300 each year. Even still, that’s $300 that I was able to put towards my deductible.

I also have an Accidental Insurance Policy with Aflac, which is offered through my employer. Any supplemental insurance policy is questionable, since often times they don’t pay off. I made the decision about a year ago when the plan was offered to me to go ahead with it, at least until I was on better footing financially. I figured it would act as a nice buffer, should an accident happen. The premium comes out of my check every week, making it small enough to barely be noticed.

I was expecting it to be a loss overall. I pay a total of $258.96 annually for the policy. There is an annual reimbursement of $70 if you get an approved medical screening, such as a PAP or mammogram (or whatever annual screenings it is that men get). So that brings it down to costing me $188.96 per year, assuming I don’t have an accident.

But this year, I had an accident. Actually, I had 2 accidents! I was questioning whether “beetle in the ear” counted as an accident, but they didn’t bat an eye when I submitted the claim. Seeking medical treatment for an accident is an automatic $120; Times 2, I earned $240! The MRI on my ankle earned me another $200. I’ll also receive another payment once I turn in a bill from physical therapy, although I’m not sure what that amount will be.

Honestly, I felt a little weird making claims on the policy. After all, I was raised that you only made claims for big things, things that you can’t cover on your own. I had to remind myself that this was different. It’s like gambling: Aflac bet me that I wouldn’t have an accident. If I have an accident, they have to pay me an agreed upon amount for each procedure resulting from the accident. If I didn’t have an accident, they get to keep all my money. The money is supposed to help offset my expenses. No matter how minor or ridiculous I feel my accidents were, there were still considerable expenses that went along with them. Beetle removal is an incredibly pricey procedure!

In the end, the amount that Aflac will have paid out on these 2 accidents will be close to covering my premiums on the policy for 3 years. Not bad considering I’ve had the policy for about a year. I started the policy towards the end of last summer, when I first became eligible, but the company renews every December. I’ll need to decide then whether it’s worthwhile to keep it for another year. At this point, I most likely will. I’ll still be ahead at the end of the next year. And hopefully by then I’ll be in an even more stable place financially, and be able to make a decision from there as to whether or not it’s worth it to keep the policy.

Like I said, supplemental insurance is often a losing proposition for the customer. It’s one of those things that you have to weigh out on a case by case basis, and decide what’s really going to be in your best interest financially. This time, the “bet” paid off for me. Most of the time, it won’t.

Do you have a supplemental insurance policy? Has it benefited you?

– Cindy W.



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