Any way you slice it, health insurance is an absolute must-have. It isn’t cheap, but when you need medical testing done or when you get sick or when you need prescriptions filled, you need health insurance to keep those things affordable.
There’s little doubt that lack of heath coverage is also a growing problem in the United States, though steps like implementation of the Affordable Care Act have been taken to expand the marketplace and allow more Americans to have access to health care.
You may think to yourself, ‘I don’t get sick. I don’t need insurance.’ Even if you have the world’s strongest immune system, you’re taking a huge risk by not having health insurance. Why? For starters, there are serious health and monetary risks you really shouldn’t gamble on.
Without insurance, there can be serious hits to your wallet. When you get sick with even the most common things like a cold or chicken pox or a yearly physical, you’ll be paying out of your own pocket if you go in for treatment. You may not think so, but even the simplest care like a flu shot costs more than a few bucks.
If something expected pops up like a major, ongoing health issue, you’re in big trouble. Believe it or not, almost two million Americans have filed for medical bankruptcy due to unexpected, ongoing health issues. Even if you’ve got a job where you have a lot of disposable income, odds are you don’t want to be spending all of it on doctor bills because you don’t have insurance.
Aside from monetary risks, there are also plenty of health risks. If you’re someone who comes down with seasonal allergies or you always find yourself getting sick around the holiday season, you’ll definitely need health insurance. The last thing you want is to come down with the flu and then have to battle with yourself about going to the doctor because you don’t have insurance. It’s a chess game you’re not going to win.
Bottom line: Yes, a health insurance plan does cost money. In fact, healthcare costs (out-of-pocket costs and deductibles) have gone up by nearly 30% since 2015 and continue to rise. But it’s a small price to pay for having access to good healthcare and being able to pay minimal costs for routine procedures.
There are a lot of types of health insurance available; everything from exclusive provider organization plans (EPOs) to health maintenance organization plans (HMOs) to preferred provider organization plans (PPOs) to high deductible health care plans (HDHPs).
Once you make the decision to get on a health insurance plan, you might be wondering how you can get one. The simple answer is to check the health insurance marketplace to find an affordable plan or to check through your place of employment. Let’s take a closer look at how that works:
- Work: Your place of business likely offers employees a choice of several different health care plans. This is an easy choice for folks because the company picks the plan for you and can usually spell out what benefits you have.
- Health insurance companies: There are any number of health insurance companies out there offering you all kinds of deals and health care plans. You can either deal with agents that represent single companies or health insurance brokers, who can check the market and different companies to offer a variety of policies. If there’s a company you really like, you can visit an agent from that particular company.
- Aggregators: You can also find a healthcare plan by using the Internet believe it or not. Online you can visit many websites that are aggregators that will help you understand different policies and give the best rates possible, much the way other types of insurance are offered.
There’s little doubt it’s important to have a health insurance plan, even in its simplest form. It’s important to take some time to find an insurance plan that works for you or your family and will give you the coverage you need. At the height of flu season or other times of high illness rates, you don’t want to roll the dice on your health.