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Debunked! The Top 3 Supplemental Insurance Myths

Does your family have supplemental insurance plans in their coverage portfolio? It’s always interesting to examine the reasons why not. Some people think insurance is just too complicated—fair enough. But that’s why you work with a trusted agent who can help you assess your risks, understand your coverage options and help you make policy purchase decisions.

For others, not having coverage may be the result of some false beliefs about supplemental coverage and its potential role in helping to protect your livelihood. Do these sound familiar?

1. I don't need it

Supplemental insurance is designed to help individuals and families manage uncertainty and pay for the things that standard insurance doesn’t cover when the unexpected happens. But, if you think, “It’ll never happen to me”…think again. Consider these statistics:

  • Four out of 10 people are treated in emergency rooms every year. 1
  • Cancer is second only to heart disease as the leading cause of death in the U.S.2
  • Each year, over 720,000 Americans will have a heart attack and more than 795,000 will suffer a stroke. 3,4

Unfortunately, unexpected accidents and illnesses can—and do—happen to anyone, even the healthiest and heartiest among us. All it takes is a nasty fall or the onset of an unusual symptom to land us in the hospital. 

2. My major medical plan will cover me

Having major medical insurance sometimes isn’t “enough.” In fact, the Kaiser Family Foundation/New York Times Medical Bills Survey found that 26% of U.S. adults say they or someone in their household had problems paying or an inability to pay medical bills—and more than 62% of these say the person who incurred the bills was covered by health insurance.5

Major medical plans aren’t meant to cover everything—they don’t cover every medical expense (e.g. alternative therapies or care from an out-of-network provider) and they certainly don’t cover non-medical expenses. An accident or serious illness can result in an unexpected need for extra cash to cover transportation to and from care facilities, childcare and other “incidentals” that come up when a family member is in the hospital or receiving care.

What’s more, some plans today don’t start paying benefits until the insured meets their deductible and pays coinsurance and copays. And when there are regular household bills to pay and a loss of income, it can be impossible to keep up with payments and maintain your family’s lifestyle.

3. I have enough in savings to cover out-of-pocket expenses

Let’s look at some more compelling stats that demonstrate reality for so many. A 2017 GO Banking Rates survey reveals more than half of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts.6 Considering that the typical length of a hospital stay is five days—and costs over $10,000 (that’s more than two months’ income for the average American family), savings accounts simply aren’t sufficient. 7,8

It’s also interesting to note that according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/New York Times Medical Bills Survey, 66% of those who report problems paying medical bills say the bills were the result of a one-time or short-term medical expense such as a hospital stay or an accident.

In the long run, even if you have the cash to foot the bills, does spending down your family’s savings because of an unexpected event—something you can help  protect against with the right insurance coverage—make sense?

To learn more, explore our line of supplemental insurance products and check out these articles:


1 National Safety Council, Injury Facts, 2014
2 Heron M, Anderson RN. Changes in the leading cause of death: Recent patterns in heart disease and cancer mortality. NCHS data brief, no 254. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for  Statistics. 2016.
3 Heart Disease Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2017, from opens in a new window
4 Stroke. (2017, September 06). Retrieved October 27, 2017, from opens in a new window
Jan 05, 2016 | Liz Hamel Follow @lizhamel on Twitter , Mira Norton, Karen Pollitz, Larry Levitt Follow @larry_levitt on Twitter , Gary Claxton, and Mollyann Brodie Follow @Mollybrodie on Twitter. (2016, April 12). The Burden of Medical Debt: Results from the Kaiser Family Foundation/New York Times Medical Bills Survey - Section 1: Who Has Medical Bill Problems and What Are the Contributing Factors? Retrieved October 27, 2017, from opens in a new window
6 Ohlemacher, Stephen. “Social Security disability backlog tops 1 million; thousands die on waitlist.” The Denver Post, The Denver Post, 18 Sept. 2017, opens in a new window
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Cost for Hospital Stays in the United States, 2012
U.S. Census Bureau, 2014


Supplemental insurance policies are underwritten by Combined Insurance Company of America (Chicago, Il) in all states except New York. In New York, these policies are underwritten by Combined Life Insurance Company of New York (Latham, NY). All policies contain exclusions and limitations, see the policy for details.