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Know your odds and how much it may cost you

Supplemental medical insurance
Wheel of fortune with various symbols of healthcare

You’ve likely purchased high-quality health insurance and feel you have the income and savings necessary to cover any out-of-pocket costs. But statistics show that the cost of inpatient and outpatient medical care in most states continues to rise, which means your share of the total cost could end up being much greater than you are prepared for. Have you considered purchasing supplemental coverage?

Supplemental medical insurance can be an affordable way to help protect you and your family and safeguard against having to deplete your savings account, a college fund or retirement savings to pay your share of an expensive hospitalization or related medical bill. Consider the value of this coverage; it might make you feel better long before the bills arrive.  

Even for a short stay, hospital costs add up fast

The risk of hospitalization is more likely than most of us realize. Each year, 7 percent of Americans will have to stay at least one night in a hospital1,  and the likelihood doubles with age — to more than 15 percent over age 65 years2.  And, the average cost of a three-day hospital stay is $30,0003 or higher, depending on what state you live in.

A supplemental medical insurance product like ADA Hospital Indemnity Insurance, underwritten by Great-West Financial, can help offset out-of-pocket costs in the event of a hospital stay, a visit to the emergency room or outpatient care services for a qualifying treatment such as chemotherapy. These hospital cash benefits are paid directly to you to use at your discretion, which makes it flexible. And, this coverage is competitive for ADA members who benefit from group rates. For example, for less than a $600 annual premium, an ADA member age 50 years could apply for up to $1,000 daily cash benefits. 

Critical illness and your costs

Hospital costs for minor illnesses or injuries cannot compare with the staggering financial burden of critical illnesses like cancer, heart attack or stroke. These critical illnesses can happen to otherwise healthy people, and statistics show that each year there will be over 1.7 million new cancer cases in the United States,4 and someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds.5

Unfortunately, the related costs to care for a family member with a critical illness can be as catastrophic as the diagnosis if you’re not properly insured and financially prepared. What if your spouse had to quit his or her job to be a full-time caregiver? What if you needed to pay for in-home health care, pay to renovate your living space to be disability accessible, or travel to a faraway hospital or specialized treatment facility for medical care or rehabilitation? These life-changing events often happen with little warning and at times when ready cash or personal savings are not enough to cover the costs.   

ADA Critical Illness Insurance, underwritten by Great-West Financial, can help ease this financial stress by providing up to $50,000 in a lump sum payment on first diagnosis of one of 17 covered critical illnesses, including stroke and cancer. And, similar to hospital indemnity benefits, the payment is made directly to you. This important supplemental medical coverage can help fill the gaps of your primary health insurance and provide a sense of financial protection when you and your family need it the most. And, you may be surprised at how competitively priced it is for eligible ADA members. For example, a $50,000 lump sum critical illness benefit at age 50 years under ADA group rates would cost only approximately $500 for the year. 

The cost of an extended medical care journey

Critical illnesses often require extensive, costly health care services over an extended period. They can include medical care in a skilled nursing facility, rehabilitation center or nursing home after an extended hospitalization — and the related costs can reach exorbitant levels. For example, a private room in a nursing home costs an average of $7,698 per month, and a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility averages $3,628 per month.6 How will you pay the costs of these types of extended health care? 

The ADA Hospital Indemnity Insurance Plan offers an optional Extended Care Rider that can help offset the out-of-pocket costs of extended recovery care after a hospitalization. This rider can provide daily benefits of up to $250 per day for up to 200 days to help address costs such as home health care, skilled nursing, and nursing home expenses.   

That same 50-year-old member would pay only about $44 that year for this additional coverage.

ADA member value

Health issues are difficult enough to cope with, not to mention the financial burden of paying for them long after the diagnosis. The ADA supplemental medical plans underwritten by Great-West Financial are an affordable option for eligible members to help guard against the high out-of-pocket costs of health care. Learn more about the competitive value of the ADA Members Insurance Plans

Mr. Kacirek, FSA (fellow of the Society of Actuaries), MAAA (member of the American Academy of Actuaries) is vice president, Specialty Insurance Markets for Great-West Financial.

This material is not a contract. Benefits are provided through a group policy (Nos. 1127GH-CIP and 1117GH-HIP) filed in the State of Illinois in accordance with and governed by Illinois law, issued to the American Dental Association, and underwritten by Great-West Financial. Great-West Financial is the marketing name of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, Corporate Headquarters: Greenwood Village, CO; Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York, Home Office: NY, NY, and their subsidiaries and affiliates. AM497540-0618.


1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Hospital utilization (in non-federal short-stay hospitals). Accessed June 11, 2018.

2) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey, 2016 — Table P-10a. Age-adjusted percent distribution (with standard errors) of number of overnight hospital stays during the past 12 months, by selected characteristics: United States, 2016. Accessed June 11, 2018.

3) Why health insurance is important: protection from high medical costs. Accessed June 11, 2018.

4) American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2018. Accessed June 11, 2018.

5) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stroke: stroke facts—stroke statistics. Accessed June 11, 2018.

6) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Long-term Costs of care. Accessed June 11, 2018.