Health insurance helps reduce medical costs, making medical care more affordable and therefore more accessible.
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Having health insurance also makes it easier to access care, which translates to lower mortality rates and better health care outcomes. At a basic level, health insurance can mean the difference between health and disease or even life and death.
Reading: Why health insurance is good
The Institute of Medicine estimated in 2002 that lack of health insurance caused 18,000 deaths a year, making it the sixth leading cause of death among people ages 25 to 64.
health insurance benefits and why it is important
financial benefits of health insurance
One of the main functions of health insurance is to make medical care more affordable while protecting us from the financial repercussions of accidents and unexpected illnesses that can easily add up to thousands and thousands of dollars.
Healthy people and young adults may feel they don’t need health insurance, believing it’s an expense they can do without because they rarely get sick and have never spent a day in the hospital. but accidents and illnesses can happen to any of us at any time. Without health insurance, we are responsible for covering all of our medical costs, which puts us at serious financial risk.
For example, a broken leg as a result of an unexpected fall can cost nearly $8,000 in health care expenses. without insurance, you are responsible for that full amount. But with a good insurance policy, you may only have to pay 20% of that cost, about $1,600.
The impact of having health insurance is even greater for more serious illnesses because it helps you avoid large medical debt and protects your financial assets.
A three-day hospital stay can cost more than $30,000, costs that are unsustainable without the help of health insurance that covers at least some of the costs. a cancer diagnosis can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, resulting in financial ruin if you don’t have insurance.
In these important health situations, a health insurance plan’s out-of-pocket maximum will limit how much you spend on health care costs during the year. After your expenses reach this limit, the insurance plan will cover 100% of your costs for covered health services, regardless of your total medical bills. however, you will still have to pay the monthly cost of the plan.
Most insurance plans also provide prescription drug coverage, making prescription drugs affordable and accessible for millions of people.
This plays a critical role in the care and management of chronic conditions and diseases. over 45% of the us the population relies on prescription drugs to control disease and stop its progression, helping to prevent costly medical complications, including hospitalizations.
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But without health insurance, the cost of many prescriptions would be exorbitant, financially out of reach for millions of Americans.
health benefits of having insurance
Health insurance links people to a regular source of care, giving them access to an infrastructure and network of providers who can work with patients to provide comprehensive, continuous health care services and coordinated.
Ultimately, people can live longer and healthier lives thanks to access to continuous care. Most health plans offer preventive services, providing many immunizations and screenings at no cost, preventing illness and subsequent complications.
Health insurance also covers pre-existing conditions. This means that if you have a diagnosis before you enroll, you will still qualify for health benefits. With health insurance, it’s much easier for the patient and provider to focus on prevention and wellness, as well as acute and chronic disease management, leading to better health outcomes and lower costs.
Similarly, lack of health insurance has a reverse effect, leading to more illness, higher costs, and even death.
health insurance provides peace of mind
Having health insurance can also reduce your stress. creates a calming effect, helping to alleviate fears of accumulating large medical debt.
At the same time, health insurance offers assurances that you’ll have easy access to comprehensive care, eliminating fears of being locked out of the health care system. Health insurance also gives us the feeling that we are part of the health care system and that we are, in fact, taking care of ourselves by having a regular source of care that we can turn to.
There are other, less obvious but important benefits of having health care. having health insurance, for example, results in fewer paperwork for the insured. Health plans maintain medical records on their patients, documenting their current treatments and medical histories. as a result, the patient may not have to spend time completing paperwork at the point of service. It’s also easier to bill patients for services when they have insurance, eliminating time spent filling out financial forms.
Health insurance can also purge the stigmas of being uninsured. uninsured people may feel marginalized or stigmatized. they may believe, for example, that their lack of insurance is some kind of failure on their part, a message to society that they cannot afford health insurance or that they are irresponsible for not having it. As a consequence, they are less likely to seek care and treatment until their condition or illness has progressed to a critical stage.
In contrast, insured people are much more likely to engage with the health care system and see their doctors for acute care needs as well as routine care such as annual physicals and screenings .
disadvantages of health insurance and things to consider
Health insurance, while important, is not a panacea. presents its own set of challenges and drawbacks.
For example, health insurance can be expensive and often stretches budgets to the breaking point with high monthly costs.
And even with the best insurance plans, you are responsible for paying some medical expenses, including deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.
There may be some years when you need little or no care, but you still have to pay monthly premiums and other health-related expenses. In these cases, you may have to pay for coverage you don’t use or need.
In addition, health insurance may have coverage restrictions and limitations. this can sometimes create gaps in care that undermine your treatment, so it’s important to read the fine print.
Increasingly, health plans are relying on more restrictive provider networks to control both service utilization and costs, resulting in limited provider choices for the consumer.
Health insurance can fall short in other ways, too. plans may impose a 12-month waiting period before treating some pre-existing conditions. work-based plans may impose an 18-month waiting period on some pre-existing conditions for a late enrollee (an employee who enrolled in a plan after the initial enrollment period).
In some cases, consumers may have little or no power when negotiating with health plans. For example, policies determine what services are provided, what is covered, and how much insurance will pay. Insurance companies may also have an advantage during the appeal process if a claim is denied. And most health insurance won’t cover elective procedures, new technology, or off-label drug use—prescriptions used for a disease or condition the drug isn’t approved to treat.
how to find health insurance
Fortunately, there are relatively inexpensive, comprehensive insurance options available.
1. employer plans
If you’re employed, one of the first places to look for insurance is through your employer. Most people in the United States get health insurance through employer-based plans, which are relatively inexpensive because employers contribute to the cost of the plans.
Young adults under the age of 26 have the option to stay on their parents’ insurance plans in most states until shortly after their 26th birthday. although eight states allow young adults to stay even longer.
The Medicaid program provides comprehensive health insurance to very low-income adults and families, making it the best health insurance program for low-income individuals. Medicaid has little or no cost, but beneficiaries must meet certain income and eligibility requirements to qualify.
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a program that provides comprehensive health care coverage to children only, under the age of 19 in most states. chip recipients generally earn too much to qualify for medicaid, but there are similar eligibility requirements that vary from state to state.
5. health insurance market
the plans of the market here are regulated and subsidized by the federal government. to qualify, people only need to enroll in a plan during an open enrollment period. Although the plans can be expensive, with the cheapest costing between $300 and $400 per month, most people looking for plans here qualify for subsidies to help defray the cost of premiums, deductibles, and copays. .