Yes. To answer your question, health insurance is almost always worth it. We know it’s an extra bill to pay every month, and you’re constantly trying to cut down your bills and save some on the side – but cutting out health insurance isn’t the way to do so.
Especially not now, when hospital costs are sky-high, and there are new pop-up emergency rooms that charge hospital prices, disguised as urgent care clinics.
The lack of health insurance and an accidental injury or sickness is enough to bankrupt even the most moderately-successful family.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s breakdown why the answer to “is health insurance worth it” is such a strong yes.
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Is Health Insurance Worth It?
We’ve already said that yes, it’s worth it for most people. But like all things in life, there’s always an exception. If you can answer the following questions, then you may not need a health insurance plan.
Can You Afford to Pay Out of Pocket?
Let’s say you, or your child falls, lands wrong and breaks their arm. You head to the emergency room or urgent care to get it x-rayed, wrapped, and put in a cast. How much do you think that process costs?
According to studies, one arm break, that doesn’t need surgery, costs $2,500 on average. That’s more than the average monthly mortgage payment for most Americans.
If you or your child needs surgery, you’re looking at $16,000 instead of $2,500. You know what you could buy for sixteen thousand dollars? A new car or a year at a prestigious private school.
If you have that kind of cash upfront, then great. We hope you don’t break your arm, but you’re covered if you do.
If you had insurance, that broken arm would likely cost you less than $200, depending on your copay amount. Some insurance plans would treat a broken bone for no money or copay at all. It’s all about finding the right plan for you.
Do You Value Preventative Care?
Americans don’t access preventative care as much as their eastern and European counterparts. Sure, we take our children for checkups at least twice a year, but as adults, we only see a doctor if there’s a problem.
Adults don’t get “checkups” because of their busy schedule or because of cost – but does that save you money? In the long run, no.
For everything from an ear infection to an STD, to cancer, the sooner you detect a problem, the easier it is to treat (and the less painful, usually).
Part of what a doctor does during a regular checkup or a non-issue screening is ask you about your risk factors for developing certain diseases or conditions. That way, they can let you know if you’re at risk for something like swimmers’ ear (which is extraordinarily painful) and what to do to prevent it in the future.
Catching something late makes treatment harder, more prolonged, and ultimately more expensive. But without health insurance, you’re unlikely to seek preventative treatment. Therefore you’re spending more in the long run, when you get sick or injured, then you would if you paid for insurance.
That’s how insurance works – you’re paying yourself forward in case of the worst.
Could You Develop a Heredity or Chronic Illness?
Some illnesses run in families, which we call hereditary. Everything from sickle cell disease to diabetes can be passed down from parent to child, even grandparent to child.
If you know someone in your family has a chronic illness, or they have one that’s hereditary (here’s a short list), then getting health insurance is worth it.
Were you to develop diabetes, not get it diagnosed early (or have someone recognize the risk factors) due to not having health insurance and not seeking preventative care, you could be looking at weekly dialysis, which is the manual filtering of the blood.
The typical dialysis regimen is three times a week, at $500 a pop, which adds up to $72,000 a year for that treatment alone. While some premiums are expensive, none of them are nearly that high.
If you don’t have any chronic or hereditary illness in your family, then you may not need health insurance … as long as you don’t need preventative care and can pay out of pocket too, as we explored above.
Now You Know
Do you have $16,000 lying around that you can spend on a broken arm surgery? Most people don’t. Between hospital costs, the importance of preventative care, and how common hereditary illnesses are, the answer to “is health insurance worth it” is a resounding yes.
If you don’t have health insurance and something happens, you could have to take out a personal or need-based loan, which you’d be paying back (albeit with excellent terms) for years.
If that’s already the situation you’re in – shop for different loans here.
But otherwise, meet with your employer to talk about enrolling in their healthcare plan or go to the HealthCare.gov website that will help you apply for a healthcare plan.
Most of the time, rates go up if you have a pre-existing condition, which you could develop between now and the time you enroll. The sooner you get coverage, the smaller the chance you take of not getting a reasonable rate, policy, or plan.
While we’re here financially, if you need us, it’s better to be prepared. Still have questions about the nickels and dimes of it all? Click here to access our learning center.