Todd was a healthy, twenty-seven year old single male who had just started his own engineering business. He figured he wouldn’t need health insurance until he got older or got married. Then he had an accident while hang-gliding with his buddies. The resulting major injuries hospitalized him for weeks and put his business and his livelihood in danger.
We never plan on getting sick, but our personal health and the health of our family is often beyond our control. A severe infection, a car accident, a broken arm during a basketball game, a kidney stone—so many medical conditions occur without warning. Who needs health insurance? Everyone.
The number of uninsured Americans in 2010 rose to 49.9 million, over 16 percent of the total population. Over twenty-eight percent of Americans age 25-34 are without insurance and 7.3 million children have no health insurance. Surprisingly, AARP.org reports that 78 percent of the uninsured are actually employed. And in 2006, almost 90 million American citizens went without insurance for sometime during that year. That’s nearly one-third of the entire population.
The Cost of Being Uninsured
If you happen to be insured, and feel the pain of paying for your deductible or premiums, consider the cost of being uninsured. On a good year, you might not get sick or need much medical care and you might only have to pay less than $100 for a prescription anti-biotic. But suddenly, something happens and your costs sky-rocket.
HealthAffairs.org estimates that Americans who are without health insurance coverage pay $30 billion in medical costs each year and high medical bills are the second leading cause of personal bankruptcy. Just consider some of these unexpected medical costs and ask yourself, “Could I cover these medical emergencies?”
A three-day hospital stay -- $27,995
A ruptured appendix -- $48,150
Knee surgery and care -- $48,300
An average ambulance ride -- $2,567
Even if you are able to avoid major accidents, experts say that uninsured people usually postpone medical care as long as possible. These means that many conditions go undiagnosed and life-saving treatments are not received as Americans go without adequate healthcare. It is estimated that nearly 18,000 people in the United States die each year simply because they do not have health coverage.
Uninsured adults are four times more likely to delay or forgo preventative screenings such as mammograms or colonoscopies. The result is that these uninsured adults are much more likely to be diagnosed with a disease in an advanced stage where available life-saving treatments are no longer effective.
Most Americans who are employed but uninsured are in that situation because their employers don’t offer benefits and they make too much money to be covered by current public health programs. So, they take the gamble that they will just pay for whatever healthcare they need. However, being uninsured can also mean that care is denied. More than forty-one percent of adults reported that a doctor’s office or clinic from which they sought primary care, would not accept them as a new patient because they didn’t have any source of insurance.
Find Affordable Health Insurance Coverage
Although health insurance premiums are an additional cost to personal budgets, they far outweigh the devastating effects of medical costs to the uninsured, and there are ways to save. Do your research and shop around to find a policy from a reputable insurer that gives you adequate coverage for a good price. Keep your deductible high so that your premiums will be lower. Choose a plan that reduces out-of-pocket expenses.
Carrying an adequate health insurance policy is really the best way to handle the rising cost of medical care. Choosing from a myriad of plans, options and policies will allow you to find the right coverage and the right price for you and your family and protect you from sudden serious financial losses due to uninsured medical costs.