When it comes to health insurance, people typically hold off on getting it until they need it. Health insurance can be quite expensive, which is why many healthy people choose to wait and see, rather than be prepared.
But, there are major consequences to being uninsured.
If an accident occurs and you need to seek treatment or surgery, the bill you get after will put you in a tough bind financially, it may even bankrupt you! This is just one of the reasons health insurance is necessary.
Health insurance does more than just help with medical bills; it also provides free benefits to keep you on a healthy track. These free health benefits are usually preventative services such as:
- annual physical exams
- routine blood work
- cancer screenings
- blood glucose tests
- blood pressure monitoring
- blood cholesterol monitoring
One in five uninsured adults foregoes medical care because of costs. These adults were more than 3 times as likely to postpone a doctor visit or get a prescription drug for the same reason.
Preventative care can help save money in the long run. When you utilize it properly, you not only catch an illness before it becomes serious (or fatal), but you can save money on prescriptions and treatments.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Health insurance is not cheap, but it’s better to be covered when you need it. When you are young and healthy, you think “I don’t need it, I feel fine!”
The reality is that healthy people can get unexpectedly sick. No one plans to get sick or hurt. It happens, and when it does, it will come with thousands of dollars bill.
It is actually cheaper to get health insurance when you are healthy. You are considered less of a health risk. Once you try to sign up when you have pre-existing conditions, you will be considered high risk and it will cost the insurance company more to cover you, which means you pay higher monthly premiums or deductibles. When you have health coverage, you save money in the long run.
Stay On Top of Medical Conditions
Unfortunately, many Americans have some kind of condition, whether diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, COPD, or cancer. Even the healthiest of people can develop a condition, especially if it’s genetic. In order to control these diseases or prevent them from worsening, you need the assistance health insurance provides.
Prescription drugs, treatments, doctor visits, follow-ups, and hospital stays due to a condition will accrue thousands in medical expenses, in the worst cases, hundreds of thousands. A health insurance plan covers a portion of these costs, keeping them low after your copays, and the deductible is met.
Starting A Family
At some point in almost every young adult’s life, they think about starting a family. It is better to have health insurance before kids come into the picture. That way, maternity appointments, vaccines, and the hospital are all taken care of. If not, the debt from medical expenses can be as high as $10,000 or more!
It is also easier to just add your newborn to your current insurance plan.. The baby will be covered, and you will not have to worry about pediatrician bills every milestone check-up you go in for.
Changing Jobs/Losing A Job
Losing your job can be a traumatic experience, especially if they were providing you with health insurance. Once you lose that job, you also lose your health benefits. However, this doesn’t have to be the end of the world. You can still qualify for health insurance during the special enrollment period due to losing your job. Make sure you are healthy and covered until you find a new job that provides benefits.
If you’re worried about the gap between jobs, you could also apply for short-term coverage. This policy type applies for the month or two period between two employer plans. They are not expensive and will provide essential health benefits during the temporary gap in coverage.
Which Plan Fits Your Needs?
When choosing which plan will work for you, there are a few questions to ask yourself:
- How healthy are you?– Are you relatively healthy? Do you engage in dangerous hobbies or have a risky job such as working on roofs? Do you need more coverage for a condition or minimal because you are healthy?
- How often do you see the doctor? – Do you go to the doctor once a year for an annual checkup? Not go at all? Or go many times during the year for follow-ups and lab work? Need prescription drugs?
If you do not see the doctor often, then having a high deductible plan is your best option. It will have low monthly premium costs. You will probably never need to pay your deductible so it makes sense to pay low monthly premiums.
However, if you do see the doctor or need to often, then a higher monthly premium with a low deductible caters more to your needs. Once you pay the low deductible, the insurance company will cover the rest of the lab work, treatments, surgeries (if needed), etc.
When you are in your early 20s and relatively healthy, it is tempting to save your money and opt out of a monthly insurance premium. Don’t be fooled, at any time anything can happen. In the long run, it can cost you more.
There is no perfect answer as to when you should get health insurance. Typically you should start seeking health insurance as soon as you can/need to. Whether you were kicked off your parents plan at 26, lost a job, healthy, starting a family, or to take care of a medical condition. Health insurance is important and necessary. It will cover you, and it does not have to be expensive. It is a better option to pay a little now than a hefty, life-changing sum later.