Are there any specialty health insurance policies?

Yes, there are certain types of policies that can be issued to meet very specific or unique situations. Talk to your agent or insurance company representative before purchasing any of these policies to ensure that they meet your specific needs and to determine the cost implications as these policies can be expensive. Here are a few.

  • COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) allows you and your dependents to continue in your employer’s group health plan after you retire, quit, are fired or laid off, or if you are working reduced hours. You may choose to continue in the group health plan for a limited time and pay the full premium, which includes the share your employer paid on your behalf. Coverage is available for up to 18 months, or 36 months for dependents in certain circumstances. If you opt for COBRA benefits, you must also fill out the appropriate forms, provided by the employer’s benefits department, within 60 days of leaving your job or you may be denied coverage. 

    As you must pay the full premium, COBRA coverage can be expensive, but may be worth considering if you have a pre-existing condition that would make it hard to get health coverage elsewhere.

  • Critical Illness Policies either pay out a lump sum or provide income in the event you are diagnosed with certain specified conditions such as cancer, a heart attack, renal failure or Alzheimer’s disease. Once known as “cancer insurance”, t is an indemnity type policy that pays out a predetermined sum even if you subsequently make a full recovery. This type of policy often comes with significant restrictions, such as: -a waiting period after diagnosis to receive payment -specific criteria to meet to receive payment -riders that must be purchased -limitations on pre-existing conditions. 
  • Life Insurance Riders are separate plans purchased with a set premium and are attached to your primary life insurance coverage to provide additional benefits. These riders provide various forms of additional protection tailored to you’re your needs. Riders are available for waiver of premium, disability, guaranteed insurability, cost of living, long term care and accelerated death benefits. The qualifying conditions are explained in the rider explanation form that you receive at the time of application. 
  • Medical Expense Policies for College Students are available through colleges or universities. If the college-sponsored plan is inadequate for your needs, if you are no longer eligible for coverage under your parents’ plan or if you attend a school outside the HMO or PPO region of your parents’ plan, some companies offer special health insurance policies designed only for students. These plans vary according to the state in which you live, but they generally cover college students of all ages, offer a choice of deductibles, doctors and hospitals, and provide year-round coverage that stays with the college student even if she/he changes or leaves school. 
  • Medigap is health insurance sold by private insurance companies to fill the gaps in the original Medicare plan coverage. In order to qualify for Medigap, you must already be eligible for Medicare. Medigap policies help pay some of the health care costs that the original Medicare Plan doesn’t cover. If you are in the original Medicare Plan and have a Medigap policy, then Medicare and your Medigap policy will pay both their shares of covered health care costs. There is a choice of up to 12 different standardized Medigap policies (Medigap Plans A through L). Participants pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium as well as a premium to the Medigap insurance company. If you are married, you and your spouse must each buy separate Medigap policies. It is important to compare Medigap policies because costs can vary significantly from one company to another.