Q&A: Should I buy additional insurance policies by mail?

Consumer Reports

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Q: I have health care coverage, but I get offers in the mail for accidental death and dismemberment policies and for additional hospital coverage, which would pay regardless of whether my regular insurance paid. Are they useful? —Betsy Lyman, Boyertown, PA

A: These so-called fixed-benefit indemnity plans aren't necessary if you have adequate health insurance and are no substitute for it.

In general, the plans are not as good a deal as regular health insurance, usually paying out 60 percent or less of the total premiums they collect. (By contrast, health plans must pay out at least 80 percent of premiums for health care expenses or else refund the difference to their customers.)

If you want to cover unreimbursed expenses, consider putting whatever you would have paid for the indemnity plan into a savings account.

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