Do I Need Medical Insurance?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2019
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There is considerable debate over whether people need medical insurance. In some countries where medicine is socialized, people don’t need medical insurance because medical care is provided by the state. Some people pay for supplemental insurance. In Canada, for instance, you have the option to purchase extra insurance for prescriptions that can help reduce prescription drug costs.

Even in countries where medicine is not socialized, you may not need medical insurance if you make a small amount of money. People may qualify for free government medical programs, or if they have children they may qualify for insurance for their children that is extremely low cost, at about $10 US Dollars (USD) per month to cover a child or two. Child insurance of this type, which is determined by income, allows you access to plans offered by insurance companies, and it is a great way to obtain excellent coverage for kids. Check your state for income limitations and if you qualify you don’t necessarily need medical insurance of any other type.


If you have a considerable amount of wealth, you may not need medical insurance, particularly if you are relatively healthy. However, there is some sense in purchasing insurance called catastrophic insurance. This doesn’t cover routine doctor’s visits, but it would cover huge medical costs. Even with good health, it’s impossible to predict the potential for life-threatening or severe accidents of many types that might require a lot of care. Protecting a large income by having catastrophic insurance means that long-term medical care would not affect your wealth. If you don’t have this type of insurance, it could severely impact your future wealth, since medical costs, especially in the US are extremely high.

In non-socialized medicine countries, people with low incomes, young people, especially college aged and young members of the workforce go without insurance. It is true that cost for medical insurance can be very high, even if an employer pays part of this cost. The benefit though, to having insurance if you’re young is that you can often get fairly inexpensive private insurance. This might include catastrophic insurance, but some mainstream companies in the US will also offer individual policies to young people for about $50 US Dollars (USD) per month.

If you have enough money to afford this, you may be able to protect yourself against liability for medical costs. Unfortunately, the cost of care can be so prohibitive that you would be faced with just a few options if you required a few days to weeks of hospitalization (say for appendicitis, removal of an ovarian cyst or injury). These options would include claiming bankruptcy, which can affect your future ability to obtain credit for as long as ten years, or taking on debt that might take many years to fully reconcile.

It’s important to assess a few things when you consider if you need medical insurance. Can you afford it? What would happen in case of medical emergency? Would you be refused care if you didn’t have insurance? Do you qualify for insurance via programs of your government? Can you afford several thousand to several hundred thousand dollars in medical costs? How healthy are you and how lucky do you feel?

It’s also important to look at the value of medical insurance policies you can afford. Some may not be worth the money you invest in them and you surely don’t need medical insurance that doesn’t help if you get ill. Do some research and choose only reputable companies that have a history of paying claims and not fighting with their clients on whether they will pay claims. Evaluate exactly what insurance will cover and what it won’t since this really variable. In the end, sometimes if you can’t afford insurance, you’d be better off saving a bit to pay for the occasional doctor’s visit or for more extensive care you might need, especially if an insurance policy you can buy doesn’t really cover very much.



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