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Do I Need Health Insurance?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 04 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Most people need health insurance, not simply for emergencies, but to help pay for the costs of providing preventative care. Still there are some people who argue they’re seldom sick, and the cost of health insurance is too great if they’re only going to require health services a few times in their lifetime. Like all insurance, though, health insurance is provided to help you when and if you need it. You may have car insurance that you pay for and never use, because you never get in an accident. Yet if you ever get in an accident, you may be very glad you made payments all those years.

Questions regarding health insurance only apply to people who don’t live in a country where health care is provided as a government service. If you’re a resident of Canada, for instance, the question really isn’t relevant. In the US, this question is one of great importance, since our medical system is primarily a private system.

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There are a few people who may not need health insurance. These people have unlimited wealth, or so much that a hospital stay of several days, to several weeks would not cause serious damage to their finances. In most cases, people who are independently wealthy are likely to protect their assets by carrying a type of health insurance called catastrophic coverage. This kicks in after a certain amount considered a deductible, usually anywhere from $500-$50,000 USD Dollars (USD), is met. Catastrophic insurance, especially with a high deductible can be inexpensive to buy and can adequately cover the needs of most people with a lot of assets and a significant income.

For most people though, even a run of illness in the family can cause multiple doctors’ visits that wouldn’t be adequately covered by catastrophic coverage. A couple of kids and parents with bronchitis and ear infections could result in payments to doctors and pharmacies in anywhere from the $400-800 USD range. Often the uninsured pay much more for doctors visits than do the insured, because hospitals and doctors offer contractual amounts to insurance companies that are lower in price.

A hospital stay without insurance can quickly consume most of your assets. People have lost homes, any savings, and any available cash to uninsured trips to the hospital. You can’t know that you’ll never need hospital service, unless you belong to a religious group that is anti-Western medicine, and uses non-traditional or faith healing practices that would not be covered by insurance.

Some people argue that they have little to lose, so they don’t need insurance. Though most hospitals will provide emergency treatment, they’re not under any obligation to provide continuing care, rehabilitative care, or anything beyond what it takes to stop a current emergency. Some people die for lack of available doctors and hospitals that won’t take patients without insurance. In best-case scenarios, you lose a good credit rating and are indebted for a long time, or claim bankruptcy to get rid of debt owed to hospitals.

Even if you’re healthy, that’s not a guarantee that you’ll stay healthy. Young healthy people succumb to diseases all the time. That sounds very gloomy, but it is nevertheless true. Without health insurance, you may be risking your future earnings, your credit rating, and your very life. Such a risk is not worth taking. At minimum, consider catastrophic coverage with a low deductible, and if possible, try to get insurance that will help cover regular visits to a doctor’s office to maintain your health and treat minor illnesses.

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