Rider (Amendments, or changes, to your health insurance policy)

What Is a Rider?

Riders are amendments, or changes, to your health insurance policy.  Historically, health insurance companies had the ability to add riders to your health insurance policy which added or excluded certain coverage permanently or for a specific duration, known as your exclusionary period.

A common example of a rider is when someone decides to purchase a rider that adds maternity or pregnancy coverage to their health insurance plan.  On the flipside, health insurance companies may add riders to your plan that would exclude coverage for a medical condition such as a recurring back problem that you have been seeking medical attention for before you enrolled in your health insurance policy. 

Why Health Plans Include Riders 

Most health insurance policies are standardized. They cover specific types of care and illnesses. Each person with a specific type of policy through an insurance company has the same type of healthcare coverage as another person who holds the same policy. Everyone's health and health concerns are unique. Policy add-ons enable you to add coverage and customize for your individual needs as well as the needs of your family. 

Are Riders Still Allowed?

When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, it prohibited health insurance companies from adding exclusionary riders to children.  In 2014, when the Affordable Care Act took full effect, it made it illegal for health insurance companies to add exclusionary riders to any health insurance plan.

Example of How Riders Work

Since exclusionary riders are prohibited under the Affordable Care Act, let’s take a look at how riders that add coverage would work with your health insurance plan.

Say you enroll in a new health insurance policy, and you are planning on starting a family in the near future.  If your health insurance plan doesn’t cover maternity care, you may opt to add a maternity care rider to your policy.  This will ensure that you are covered during your pregnancy. 

Types of Riders

Some popular examples of flexible riders include:

Hospital Cash

This rider will provide a daily cash benefit in the event you are hospitalized.

Critical Illness Coverage

This rider could pay extra cash if you are ever diagnosed with a critical illness such as a heart attack, cancer or kidney failure.

Personal accident 

This rider provides additional financial benefits if you are injured in an accident, including temporary and permanent disability.