Health insurance is a specific kind of insurance that usually pays for medical, surgical, and prescription drug expenses. Health insurance can pay your care provider directly or reimburse you for expenses you incur from illness or injury.
In exchange, you usually pay a monthly premium. If you have an employer who offers a benefits package, your premiums are usually partially covered by your employer and partially deducted from your paycheck.
Health Care Costs Without Insurance
Health care costs can be astronomical, and without insurance, they can add up fast. Here is a look into the estimated cost of some common health care services without insurance:
- MRI: $1,119
- One day in the hospital: $5,220
- Giving birth: $10,808
- Knee replacement: $28,184
- Having your appendix removed: $15,930
Why Should You Consider Health Insurance?
Medical debt is a growing problem in the United States. More than half of Americans with medical debt have no other debts listed on their credit reports, and medical debt (as well as loss of income for medical reasons) plays a role in more than 60% of personal bankruptcy filings.
Health insurance can protect you from medical debt by covering high healthcare costs in case of a serious accident or illness. It can also give you access to preventive services like screening tests and shots to help prevent future illness and keep you healthy.
Health Care Plans For Different Needs
You can choose from several different health care plans through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace. This federal government platform offers insurance plans to individuals, families, and small businesses.
If you and your family don’t get health insurance coverage through your job, you can choose and pay for a plan on your own through the ACA Marketplace. To qualify, you simply need to be a U.S. citizen, live in the United States, not be incarcerated, and not qualify for Medicare. Following are the five kinds of health plans available on the ACA Marketplace:
- Catastrophic plans are available to you if you’re under 30 or have a hardship or affordability exemption. They have low monthly premiums, high deductibles and are intended to be an affordable way to protect you in worst-case scenarios.
- Bronze plans have the most affordable premiums. They cover 60% of your health care costs.
- Silver plans have medium price premiums and cover 70% of your health care costs.
- Gold plans have higher price premiums and cover 80% of your health care costs.
- Platinum plans have the highest cost premiums and cover the highest portion of your health care costs at 90%.
Other common health care plans include HMOs, PPOs, and EPO plans. HMOs consist of in-network providers and require their members to choose a primary care physician from that specific network. However, they typically cost less than other plans.
PPOs also have in-network providers but allow their members to go out-of-network to receive care, and choosing a primary care physician is not required. However, going out-of-network will ultimately cost more than staying in-network.
EPO plans are similar to HMOs and PPOs, but they only allow their members to receive care outside the network if it’s for an emergency.