Unexpected medical expenses can potentially hinder your finances and overall health. And while health insurance helps cover medical expenses, it can still leave you with extra expenses to pay that can pile up. In fact, according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in eight Americans owe $10,000 or more in medical debt — even those with medical insurance.1
Hospital indemnity insurance can help you handle those hospital bills and the additional expenses that may come up from spending time in the hospital. Learn about the benefits of hospital indemnity insurance and when it may be a good time to enroll in a plan.
How does hospital indemnity insurance work?
Hospital indemnity insurance is a type of supplemental health insurance that can help cover costs associated with hospital stays.
Hospital indemnity insurance plans offer a payment that can be used for anything you see fit, from costs like deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance, medications, and rehabilitation to everyday expenses, such as childcare, gas, and groceries.
How much is a hospital stay per day?
According to data from healthcare.gov, the average three-day hospital stay costs around $30,000. Families and individuals can accrue debt due to a medical emergency, illness, or ongoing health procedures.2 In fact, one study found that about one in four Americans report having no emergency savings at all, which can mean a hospital stay can be financially debilitating.3
In addition to having financial coverage in case of medical emergencies, other reasons you may want hospital indemnity insurance include:
- You’re pregnant or planning for a baby. Hospital indemnity insurance may provide coverage for extra days spent in the hospital after giving birth.
- You or a family member have a chronic illness. For those with chronic medical conditions — like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease — hospital indemnity insurance can help cover your frequent hospital visits.
- You have an upcoming surgery or procedure. You may want hospital indemnity insurance for a scheduled hospital visit, overnight stay, or outpatient surgery.
Advantages of hospital indemnity insurance
There are many potential advantages to having hospital indemnity insurance. For a full list of coverage and benefits, make sure to read your provider's policy, as coverage will differ by provider. But in general, here are some of the advantages that may come with a hospital indemnity policy.
It provides a lump sum to use as you see fit
Since money is sent to you directly, you get to choose how it’s spent. As mentioned earlier, you can use the money toward hospital expenses or for things related to recovery, such as transportation costs, food, and childcare.
It can cover you and your loved ones
Often, hospital indemnity insurance also covers your spouse and children if they’re admitted to the hospital. Look for coverage that best fits the needs of your household. Anything from a broken bone to a chronic condition may be covered for everyone in your family.
It often offers coverage that is portable
In many cases, your hospital indemnity coverage will remain the same even if you change jobs or move somewhere new. Some hospital indemnity plans will even offer coverage after the policyholder retires or goes on Medicare.
What to look for in a hospital indemnity plan
Before selecting a hospital indemnity insurance plan for you and your family, consider the following factors:
- Cost: The cost of the plan will depend on the provider; however, it may be less expensive than you’d think.
- Length of coverage: Know your coverage period. It should be listed on your policy or in the plan information available from your human resources specialist.
- Payout terms: Find out how long it takes after your hospital stay for you to receive an insurance payout.