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Know the difference: health insurance vs. supplemental insurance

No matter how large of an employer you are, creating a benefits plan can be tricky—especially when it comes to insurance. There are so many types to choose from, each promising different benefits for what seems like overlapping coverage, and it can become cumbersome. Fast.

But understanding the basics makes the process more efficient and effective. Knowing the difference between health insurance and supplemental insurance will help you do just that.

What does health insurance cover?

Health insurance is a type of insurance coverage that helps pay for health and medical expenses. Typically, health insurance has a variety of benefits. It can protect the insured from paying unexpected and expensive medical bills. It can also cover essential health benefits, like annual physicals and most plans may also provide free preventative care, like vaccines and screenings.1

For many employers, offering health insurance isn’t optional. As of 2014, employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees are required to offer health insurance in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.2

What is supplemental insurance and what does it help cover?

In contrast, supplemental insurance is exactly what its name implies—supplemental. And what is it supplementing? Health insurance ... plus dental, vision and any other insurance you can think of. If health insurance is the steak and potatoes, supplemental insurance is the wine and dinner rolls—not the core of the meal, but offerings that enhance it and help it feel more complete. Depending on the specific plan, supplemental insurance can help you close the gap between what health insurance covers and what you’re responsible for paying out-of-pocket. And unlike health insurance, some types of supplemental insurance can also help with expenses that aren’t directly related to medical care. Paying benefits directly to the insured (unless assigned otherwise) to use as they see fit, Aflac’s supplemental insurance can help people cover expenses such as transportation to and from treatments, lodging and other nonmedical expenses incurred because of the need for care.

Health insurance has its limits—and supplemental insurance helps you level up

Despite its name, health insurance was never designed to cover everything about your health. That’s why there’s dental insurance. And vision insurance.

Enter supplemental insurance.

It’s not trying to replace health insurance. And it’s not trying to step in for dental and vision coverage either. Instead, it’s a booster for your employees’ existing coverage, helping fill in gaps where their other forms of insurance may leave them vulnerable. Supplemental coverage can give people more robust protection than what health insurance gives alone.

And it’s not just your employees who have additional protection with supplemental insurance. In a recent survey of 1,200 business decision-makers such as yourself, 77% said that offering supplemental insurance helps them recruit employees, and 80% said it helps them retain employees.3

Some things just go together—hands and gloves, pen and paper, burgers and fries. Health insurance and supplemental insurance are one of those combos.

Want to level up your employees’ protection? Check out Aflac’s supplemental insurance products — then contact your Aflac benefits advisor or visit

Offer Aflac to your employees.

Companies choose to make Aflac policies available to increase benefits options without impacting their bottom line.