With the price of medical care on the rise, more people are finding paying out-of-pocket health care costs difficult. Fortunately, obtaining dual coverage on your insurance plan is one way to cut medical costs. You can get dual coverage by obtaining health insurance from both your and your spouse's employers. A child may have dual coverage if he is covered under both of his parents' plans.
How Dual Coverage Insurance Works
If both you and your spouse work for companies that offer employer-sponsored health benefits, you can elect for coverage under both plans. Your employer's insurance company will be your primary provider, and your spouse's insurer will be your secondary provider. When you obtain medical treatment, you can file a claim with both providers.
Reduced Out-of-Pocket Costs
Having dual-coverage insurance can reduce or eliminate your out-of-pocket expenses for medical procedures, called co-pays. In most cases, an insurance company pays a portion of your medical expenses, and you're responsible for paying the rest. If you have dual-coverage insurance, your primary insurer will pay a portion of your expenses, but your secondary insurer will likely step in to pay what remains.
Fewer Gaps in Insurance Coverage
If you ever become unemployed or switch jobs, you'll likely lose your health insurance almost immediately. Gaps in health insurance coverage can be dangerous because you're responsible for the entire cost of any medical procedures you have while uninsured. Having gaps in insurance coverage can also make it harder for you to qualify for insurance when you're employed again or wish to purchase private insurance. If you have dual-coverage insurance, you'll still be covered by your spouse's plan, so you won't need to worry about gaps in insurance coverage unless you're both unemployed or switch jobs at the same time.
Health insurance plans and what they cover vary widely. For this reason, two insurance companies may offer completely different benefits for the same procedure. For example, one insurance company may cover 80 percent of a procedure, while another won't cover the procedure at all. When you have dual-coverage insurance, you have more coverage, so it's more likely that at least one of your insurance companies will cover the procedures you need.
- The Law Dictionary: How Does Double Coverage Health Insurance Work?
- Excellus: Coordinate Benefits When Members Have Dual Coverage
- HMSA: If You Have More Than One Medical Plan
- Chicago Tribune: Bridging the Insurance Gap
- U.S. Department of Labor. "Young Adults and the Affordable Care Act: Protecting Young Adults and Eliminating Burdens on Businesses and Families FAQs." Accessed Mar. 25, 2020.
- Healthcare.gov. "Health Coverage for Self-Employed." Accessed Mar. 25, 2020.
- U.S. Small Business Administration. "Plan to Offer Employee Benefits." Accessed Mar. 25, 2020.
- Healthcare.gov. "Small Business and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)." Accessed Mar. 25, 2020.
- Medicare.gov. "What's Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?" Accessed Mar. 25, 2020.
- HealthCare.gov. "No health insurance? See if you'll owe a fee."
- Kaiser Family Foundation. "2019 Employer Health Benefits Survey: Section 1: Cost of Health Insurance." Accessed Mar. 25, 2020.
- eHealth. "How Much Does Individual Health Insurance Cost?" Accessed Mar. 25, 2020.
- Healthcare.gov. "Enroll In or Change 2020 Plans — Only With a Special Enrollment Period." Accessed Mar. 25, 2020.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Lifetime & Annual Limits." Accessed Mar. 25, 2020.
Miranda Morley is an educator, business consultant and owner of a copywriting/social-media management company. Her work has been featured in the "Boston Literary Magazine," "Subversify Magazine" and "American Builder's Quarterly." Morley has a B.A. in English, political science and international relations. She is completing her M.A. in rhetoric and composition from Purdue University Calumet.