Best Way to Have Two Health Insurances in 2024

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Written By kevin

A financial strategist with a knack for demystifying taxes and insurance, Kevin distills complex concepts into actionable advice.

Having two health insurance plans, also known as “dual coverage,” can provide broader benefits and lower out-of-pocket costs compared to having just one plan. With the rising expenses of healthcare, exploring options for dual coverage can be a smart financial move for 2024. This article will cover key considerations around coordination of benefits, eligibility scenarios, pros and cons, tips for navigating dual health plans, and insights into changes for the 2024 plan year.

Coordination of Benefits with Two Health Plans

When you have two health plans, there are rules dictating which plan pays first, known as “coordination of benefits.” One plan serves as the primary payer that pays medical claims up to its coverage limits. The other plan is secondary, paying any remaining costs after the primary coverage.

The two plans work together to ensure reimbursements don’t exceed 100% of actual medical expenses. Common scenarios where this coordination comes into play include:

  • Having coverage through your own employer and a spouse’s employer plan
  • Being a dependent on your parent’s insurance while also having your own employer coverage
  • Having both Medicare and a private individual or group health plan

There are standard guidelines that determine which plan pays first, such as employment status, age of policyholder, and type of plan. Generally, if you have coverage as an employee and a dependent, the employee plan is primary.

Who Can Have Dual Health Insurance?

You may be eligible for secondary health insurance if you qualify for multiple health plans, such as:

  • Employer plan + spouse’s employer plan: Get coverage through your job while also being covered as a dependent on your spouse’s plan.
  • Parent’s plan + your own plan (if under 26): Take advantage of staying on a parent’s health insurance while having your own employer coverage.
  • Medicare + employer plan: Qualify for Medicare once turning 65 while still working and retaining workplace coverage.
  • Medicare + Marketplace plan: Enroll in private individual health insurance through public Marketplaces while also having Medicare.
  • Medicaid + private plan: Have secondary private coverage to supplement primary Medicaid benefits.

The Pros and Cons of Double Health Coverage

Dual health coverage can provide valuable financial protection and flexibility, but also has administrative hurdles to consider.


  • Broader coverage: With two plans, you increase the odds of having medications, services, and providers covered. If one plan lacks certain benefits, the other may fill gaps.
  • Lower out-of-pocket costs: Combining primary and secondary payer contributions can significantly cut your deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.
  • Wider provider choice: Having an out-of-network provider on one plan may be in-network on the other, expanding access.


  • Higher premiums: You’ll likely need to pay premiums for both plans, increasing overall costs. Weigh added premiums vs. potential savings.
  • Administrative complexity: Managing dual health coverage involves paperwork, communication between insurers, and coordinating claims.
  • Over-insurance: There’s a risk of paying for more coverage than actually needed if both plans are robust on their own.

Tips for Navigating Two Health Plans

If exploring dual coverage, keep the following guidance in mind:

  • Compare plan details carefully: Read documents thoroughly, noting provider networks, prescription formularies, exclusions, out-of-pocket limits.
  • Understand coordination of benefits: Know which insurer is primary vs secondary, and the process for submitting and reconciling claims.
  • Inform providers: Let your doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies know you have two plans and provide card information for both.
  • Meet enrollment and eligibility requirements: Enroll at appropriate times, meet all criteria to qualify, and provide necessary documentation.
  • Consider Marketplace subsidies: Those with dual coverage may still qualify for premium tax credits and cost sharing reductions when enrolling in Marketplace plans.

Changes Coming for 2024 Coverage

The 2024 plan year brings new developments impacting those with dual health insurance:

  • Lower Marketplace premiums: Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, federal tax credits will keep Marketplace plan costs low through 2025. Shop for deals.
  • Medicare changes: 2024 brings updates to Medicare like added telehealth benefits that dual enrollees can take advantage of.
  • Medicaid redetermination: States are beginning to process Medicaid renewals after pausing reviews during COVID. Those who lose Medicaid may qualify for special enrollment periods for other coverage.


Dual health insurance coverage can make financial sense for those who qualify and take the time to understand how the two plans work together. As healthcare costs rise, exploring all options for lowering out-of-pocket expenses is wise. Heading into 2024, new developments create opportunities to reevaluate coverage needs and enroll in optimal plans.