Can You Have Two Health Insurance Plans? | eHealth Insurance
With rising health care costs, many people wonder if it’s possible to have two health insurance plans and how to get the most out of both plans.
Yes, it’s possible for someone to have secondary and perfectly legal health insurance, but it’s also important to fully understand how primary versus secondary insurance works. Although it may seem like more work to have two individual or family health insurance plans, having a second health insurance plan can help you cover some of your insurance costs.
On the other hand, you could also be responsible for two monthly premiums and two deductibles. therefore, when considering a second long-term or short-term health insurance plan, you should think carefully about what would best suit your situation. learn more about health insurance and decide if having a second health insurance plan is best for your needs.
when would it benefit me to have two health insurance plans?
Situations in which one might benefit from having two health insurances
Reasons someone might have two health insurance plans include situations like:
- are a married couple and both have health insurance through their own employers
- are under 26 with divorced parents, and both parents include you as a dependent on their separate plans
- You are under 26, married, and covered by your spouse’s plan and your parents’ plan
How does it work to have two medical insurances?
Having two health insurance plans doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be fully covered twice. For example, if you go to the doctor’s office twice, this does not mean that you will be reimbursed twice. or, if you go to pick up your prescription, it does not necessarily mean that you will be reimbursed twice for that drug.
There is usually a coordination of benefits provision that informs your health insurance plans. What this means is that there is an order to which your health insurance policies are paid. Insurance companies don’t want to incentivize someone to have multiple insurance plans only to be reimbursed multiple times for the same visit. Coordination of benefits will specify which plan pays first, reduce duplication of benefits, and increase the efficiency with which claims are processed.
what is coordination of benefit provision?
This is where primary and secondary insurance come into play:
- Primary Insurance: The insurance that pays first is your “primary” insurance, and this plan will pay up to the coverage limits. you may have to share the costs.
- Secondary Insurance: Once your primary insurance has paid its share, the remaining bill goes to your “secondary” insurance, if you have more than a health insurance. plan. your secondary insurance may cover some or all of the remaining cost.
Please note that both primary and secondary insurance will cover up to plan limits. After secondary insurance has paid its share, you may be responsible for any remaining uncovered amounts. So even if you have multiple health insurance policies, you may still have out-of-pocket medical expenses.
If you’re worried about your out-of-pocket costs, it can help to take the time to shop around and compare health plans. eHealth’s plan lookup tool makes it easy to compare plan costs like premiums, deductibles, and copays side by side.
How do I know which insurance will pay first?
When it comes to primary versus secondary insurance, the question of who pays first depends on the situation.
For example, if you’re a child with two parents covering you under their respective family plans, your primary insurance is decided by something called the “birthday rule.” primary coverage will come from the parent whose birthday is the first in the calendar year. Note that it’s not about which parent is older, but about whose birthday is earlier.
Whenever you make a health insurance claim, your primary insurance plan will act as if you did not have a secondary plan and provide you with its benefits. then your secondary insurance plan kicks in and covers the rest of the cost if covered and needed.
Will I still have out-of-pocket costs if I have two health plans?
If you have multiple health insurance policies, you’ll need to pay premiums and deductibles for both plans. your secondary insurance will not pay your primary deductible. you may also have other cost-sharing or out-of-pocket costs, such as copays or coinsurance.
Even if you have multiple health insurance policies, remember that plan rules still apply. For example, if you have a PPO (preferred provider organization) plan, your primary policy may have provider network rules. If you see an out-of-network provider that isn’t covered by your plan, your primary insurance won’t cover the costs, and your secondary insurance won’t cover the costs because you didn’t follow your primary plan’s rules.
As another example, you may have out-of-pocket costs if your provider charges you more than your plan(s) deems reasonable, customary, or allowed under plan rules. If you’d like help understanding the different out-of-pocket costs you may have with more than one plan, an eHealth-licensed insurance agent can explain those costs to you.
benefits of having two health insurance plans
Is it a good idea to have multiple health insurance plans? There are several significant benefits you can enjoy if you have two separate health insurance plans. include:
- can help you cover some additional costs you have incurred. If you find that you frequently have to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses because your current health insurance plan doesn’t have enough coverage, then having a second health insurance plan may be beneficial.
- if one of your health insurance policies expire, then you won’t have a gap in your coverage. your second health insurance plan will be there automatically. You don’t have to worry about running out of coverage.
- You can get access to more coverage and higher benefits if your two plans are complementary. what this means is that you need plans to cover different aspects of your care. that way, you fill in the gaps left by your first health insurance plan.
Clearly, there are many benefits that come with having two health insurance plans, but you have to find the right plans to complement each other.
disadvantages of having two health insurance plans
While there are many benefits to having two health insurance plans, there are also some drawbacks. Some of the biggest drawbacks of having two health insurance plans include:
- Having two health insurance plans doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be fully covered when it comes to your out-of-pocket costs. remember that the combined coverage of your plans cannot exceed 100 percent of your out-of-pocket costs. if you want to get paid to go to the doctor, that won’t happen even if you have multiple policies.
- if you have two health insurance plans, you’ll still be responsible for two premiums and two deductibles. That means you could end up incurring additional costs.
- If you have two health insurance policies, you’ll need to navigate to separate policies and rules. Also, the reimbursement process may take longer or have more errors because your health insurance providers have to navigate multiple benefits.
- With two health insurance policies, they may be too similar and overlap with your coverage, which means you don’t get many extra benefits.
- When you go to the doctor’s office, the doctor may only want to bill for one policy. they may not want to bill the other policy. this means the process could become more complicated and your doctor could become frustrated.
Even with two health insurances, coverage will not exceed 100% of your health costs
For all of these reasons, you should think carefully before deciding on a second insurance policy. It’s not necessarily the best measure for your health coverage, but there are some situations where it can be useful.
One of the best ways to lower your overall health care expenses is to compare plan costs and benefits with a licensed insurance broker like ehealth. Since health insurance costs are regulated by law, you’ll get the same price no matter where you shop. therefore, the best strategy is to shop with a broker like ehealth that offers a large selection of affordable health plans in one place.
If you think you could save money with multiple health insurance plans, think about your current and future medical needs. then figure out if the cost of paying premiums, deductibles, and more than two plans would exceed the additional coverage of two plans.
Can you have two health insurance plans?: frequently asked questions
Does having two health insurance plans reduce out-of-pocket costs?
There are some situations where having two health insurance plans can help you lower your out-of-pocket costs. For example, if you have two health insurance plans that cover different areas of your medical needs, then one policy may cover one area while another policy covers the other area. that way, you can lower your out-of-pocket costs.
Are there different types of secondary insurance?
Yes, there are different types of secondary insurance coverage. you may want to find a plan that targets the area of your coverage that you need the most. vision, dental, disability, life, accident, hospital care, and medicare supplemental insurance are just a few of the areas secondary insurance can focus on helping you, in addition to your primary insurance. For example, if your primary plan doesn’t cover many of your hospital costs and you think you’ll need hospital care in the future for major surgery or for an extended period of time, secondary hospital care insurance may be right for you. this type of plan can cover you for unexpected illnesses like a heart attack with a cash payment.
Does the secondary insurance cover the copay?
There are some situations where your secondary insurance policy may cover your copay. there are some insurance plans that require you to pay a copay when you go to the doctor, but there are other insurance policies that may not require a copay. therefore, if you choose to use the insurance policy that does not require a copay, you may not have to pay a copay for certain hospital visits.
what is the billing process when you have two health insurances?
If you have primary and secondary health insurance, your bill will not be delivered to both at the same time. Your primary insurance will generally be billed first unless there is a rule under your coordination of benefits provision that decides which insurance pays first. once your primary insurance has done its part, you can bill your secondary insurance. Keep in mind that you should always send the entire bill to your secondary insurance provider, as they will want to see what your primary insurance has already paid for and why they didn’t pay your bill in full. submitting a full bill may prevent your secondary claim from being denied.
find a health insurance plan that works for you
There are many nuances to having primary and secondary insurance, and the insurance claims process can be confusing at times. There are some situations where it might be beneficial for you to have a secondary insurance plan, but you should think carefully about the benefits and drawbacks of each option. If you have any questions or would like help finding a secondary health insurance policy, eHealth is here to help. As a licensed insurance broker, eHealth offers a wide selection of health insurance plans from trusted insurance companies. We make it easy to compare plan benefits and prices in one place, and our support staff is available to help you find the coverage that’s right for you. To get started, simply enter your ZIP code into the plan search tool or call us to speak with a licensed insurance agent who can guide you through custom plan options.
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