In the past, many people went without health insurance for a number of reasons. Often people see this coverage as something that’s only beneficial if you get sick. When you’re relatively healthy, it might seem like a good idea to save the money on insurance premiums. In the long-term, however, that can be a catastrophic idea. Illnesses and accidents often come with no previous warning and an extensive hospital stay without insurance coverage can virtually bankrupt even those who were doing well financially.
With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), purchasing health insurance is no longer just an option – it’s a legally mandated necessity. Most people who weren’t previously insured will need to obtain coverage to satisfy the requirements put in place by the ACA. But there are a number of other reasons that a health insurance policy is beneficial for the individual and his or her family.
Having ongoing health coverage protects you from incurring astronomical medical bills that you can’t possibly pay. While there is a scheduled premium, as well as a deductible and copays, the larger medical issues will not rest solely on you. The remainder that is the patient’s responsibility is far easier to afford or schedule long-term payments on so medical disasters don’t also become financial disasters.
Lower Prescription and Health Service Costs
Your insurance company works with providers and pharmaceutical companies so your overall cost of service is at a discounted rate. Your insurance coverage could make monthly prescriptions a fraction of the cost of what the same medications would cost out of pocket. Doctor’s office visits and individual procedures are also discounted, and that reduced rate trickles down to the patient payment portion, as well as your insurance’s cost of coverage.
Greater Access to Care
More and more private practices and providers are switching to a pay at service model of billing, meaning patients must be prepared to pay the entire bill for each visit. For patients with coverage, that bill will show the co-pay and then an estimate of what the patient’s responsibility will be after insurance coverage. Even in cases where practices are not billing in full, there’s still the matter of paying for every procedure out of pocket, which can limit the type of care you can afford.
ACA’s Individual Mandate Policy
Until you purchase a qualified health insurance plan, you will be charged a penalty on your taxes for yourself and any dependent for which you’re responsible. This amount can be high depending on your income and will not benefit you in any way, so it’s far more sensible to find a policy you can afford and pay out for a service, rather than a tax that still leaves you with no medical coverage.