Health insurance is a type of insurance coverage that covers the cost of an insured individual's medical and surgical expenses. Depending on the type of health insurance coverage, either the insured pays costs out of pocket and receives reimbursement, or the insurer makes payments directly to the provider.
Health insurance isn’t cheap, but going without it can cost you even more. Whether you get it through your employer or the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace, know what you’re getting and what you aren’t.
If you’re in good health and don’t have anyone depending on you like a spouse or children, you may be tempted to forgo the cost of buying health insurance. But not having health insurance can cost you far more in the long run than the cost of paying premiums. Without health insurance, you likely would be responsible for paying all costs if you get sick or injured. The more you know about health insurance and what it can — or can’t — do for you, the easier it is to realize that it might be worth the cost.
Whether you’re relatively healthy or chronically ill, health insurance can provide the financial protection you need for both routine and unexpected healthcare needs. Health insurance typically covers preventive health services and screen for potential health issues that may cause problems later. Health insurance typically covers other essential health benefits like emergency services, prescription drugs, and maternity care. Health insurance can help protect you from high medical costs, whether expected or not, through copayments and coinsurance.
If you choose to skip health insurance, you may be forced to face these costs alone, plus a penalty. “The Affordable Care Act comes with a mandate for most individuals to have minimum essential coverage,” says Howard Yeh, founder and CEO of HealthCare.com. “Unless an exemption applies, individuals will have a tax penalty if they don’t get health insurance.” That penalty can be calculated based on a percentage of your household income or per person in your household.