Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The benefits of having primary and secondary health insurance coverage are that, overall, you get a higher percentage of your health costs paid. In addition, certain plans offer benefits that others do not; therefore you can often get more benefits than if you were to have only one type of coverage.

You also have the luxury of higher limits of coverage because of having two health insurance plans.

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The Details of Primary and Secondary Health Insurance

If you happen to be on a group health insurance plan and your spouse also is, you are in the ideal situation for primary and secondary health insurance. You will each need to elect to carry family or plus one coverage so that the other party is also covered.

If you happen to have individual coverage under your group plan, your partner will not be eligible for secondary health insurance. You can also purchase secondary health insurance on the individual health insurance market, in order to provide extra coverage where you feel it is needed.

The two health insurance providers will work together to determine which is considered primary and which is considered the secondary one. There are a variety of factors which may help in this determination including the length of time each individual has been on their respective plans or the dates of birth of the insured.

When you obtain health services, the provider will bill the primary insurance company first. Following payment, he will likely bill the secondary provider for any amounts not covered. You as the patient will still be responsible for certain out-of-pocket expenses, co-pays and deductibles.

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When it is Most Valuable to Carry Secondary Health Insurance

There are certain situations when your secondary health insurance will make absolutely no difference to the amount you have to pay for medical services. However, there are other cases in which your secondary coverage can save you a significant amount of money.

If the two plans have areas that do not overlap, you will get the greatest amount of benefit from the secondary coverage. In such cases, you will be able to get your secondary plan to cover costs that are not covered by your primary coverage, meaning fewer out-of-pocket expenses for you.

In addition, if you ever face serious illness, accident or injury and require significant medical treatment or long term hospitalization, you are likely to hit the annual or even yearly limit of benefits on your primary health insurance plan. In this case, your secondary health insurance coverage will kick in and provide continued coverage.

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Purchasing Secondary Health Insurance

If you are in the market for secondary health insurance, you have a variety of options to choose from. Most individual health insurance providers will be able to provide you with a policy that can effectively work as a secondary health insurance to fill in the gaps left by your primary coverage.

Before making a purchase of secondary health insurance, take the time to shop around and get a variety of health insurance rates to compare and contrast. Whatever company you eventually go with will work hand in hand with your primary health insurance company to make sure you do not profit from having more than one plan. Therefore you need to make sure that the policy you are purchasing will truly fit the gaps left by the primary and also makes sense financially. Otherwise you may spend a significant amount in premiums and may get little or nothing in return.

When you start your search for insurance, begin with an online quote tool. By entering your zip code and then answering relevant questions, your information will be submitted to a variety of insurers who provide coverage in your part of the country. You will quickly begin to receive price quotes on the secondary insurance you are looking for.

Be sure to carefully compare and contrast the details of the policies before making a decision. Many companies offer policy variations that can be very beneficial or completely useless, depending on your needs. You should also check out the company you are planning to get coverage with. By checking with your state department of insurance you will get a good idea of whether or not the company is fair in their dealings with their clients. A high complaint ratio is a warning sign that this may not be the best provider. Check one of the independent insurance ratings companies like Weiss Ratings or Moody’s to determine if the insurer is financially stable before taking out a policy also.

Get started right now shopping for the right secondary health insurance policy for you by putting a free online health insurance quote tool on the job.

Enter your zip code to get started now!