Many people never think about health insurance until they’re in the middle of a medical crisis. However, the time to start thinking about enrolling in a health insurance program is not once you’re in the hospital with a broken arm — it’s before.
Medical insurance can help protect you if you have a health emergency. You can also purchase policies for your children or spouse so they are also protected in case they get injured.
If you’ve been given the opportunity to buy health insurance but haven’t made the commitment yet, it might be because you’re worried about how much it will cost you.
While there are certain ways you can receive discounted or free health insurance, the majority of Americans need to pay for their coverage. However, the cost shouldn’t stop you from obtaining this critical protection.
The sections below explain four important ways health insurance can keep you and your family protected.
1. Health insurance can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
One of the most important benefits health insurance provides is financial protection. If your medical insurance is costing you hundreds of dollars each month, you might be unsure as to how true this is.
However, in the most extreme situations, having health insurance can be the difference between you leaving the hospital with a small bill and going into massive debt.
If you don’t have health insurance, obtaining medical care is expensive. That’s because you’re responsible for paying the entirety of your medical bill whenever you receive services.
This means you’d be responsible for paying in full every time you:
- Visit your primary care physician (PCP). If you have health insurance, this can save you hundreds of dollars every time you visit your PCP. With health insurance, the most you usually need to pay for your visits is a copay. However, without insurance, you’d be responsible for paying the full appointment price, as well as fees associated with any lab work or other services you obtain during your visit.
- Use ambulance services. If you’re having a medical emergency, your health insurance will usually cover however much it costs for you to use an ambulance to transport you to the hospital. On the other hand, uninsured individuals need to pay the full price for this service, which can cost hundreds of dollars.
- Go to the emergency room. Most people need to go to the emergency at some point in their lives. However, it only takes one trip to leave you severely in debt. If you have health insurance coverage, your insurance company will usually pay most of the fees you accrue when you go to the emergency room. However, if you’re uninsured, you’d be responsible for paying the full bill. Depending on the services you need, this could easily wind up costing you thousands of dollars.
Even if you don’t plan on getting sick, you should still protect yourself by getting health insurance.
Learn About Discounted Health Insurance
Most often, employers offer several different health insurance plans to workers, so they can choose the one that works best for them. However, unemployed workers, self-employed business owners and part-time employees usually don’t have this option.
To help make health insurance more accessible, there are two federal programs that provide low-cost or free health insurance to people who qualify. Depending on your financial situation or your age, you might qualify for assistance through:
2. Health insurance helps you access preventative care.
A large number of tomorrow’s health care problems can be prevented today. If you have health insurance, having affordable access to preventative care is a major benefit that comes with being insured.
Comprehensive health insurance policies generally allow you to obtain access to the following types of preventative care:
- Dental – Having good oral hygiene can reduce the likelihood that you’ll experience gum disease or tooth decay down the road.
- Vision – With a health insurance policy that covers routine eye exams, you can make sure your eyes are healthy and functioning well. You may also be able to use your benefits to help you get glasses or contacts, if you have trouble seeing.
- Well woman exams – If you’re a woman, your health insurance should cover yearly well woman exams. These exams are designed to ensure you’re in good reproductive health.
- Dermatology – Deadly skin cancers such as melanoma can be benign when caught early enough. With health insurance, you can have yearly preventative screenings to make sure your skin is in good condition.
These are a few of the different preventative services you can access with health insurance. Different policies offer other benefits, so make sure you know what’s included in a specific policy before you sign up.
3. Health insurance can help you during a medical emergency.
During a health crisis, having insurance will save you money and future headaches when it comes time to determine how much you owe. That’s because you won’t need to keep contacting the hospital to ensure all the bills you’re responsible for have been sent to you.
Most people associate medical emergencies with senior citizens or young children. However, the reality is that a health crisis can happen to anyone at any time.
If you’ve got health insurance, your policy may provide coverage in case you need:
- Services related to your pregnancy.
- Cancer care.
- Inpatient or outpatient services.
- Prescription drugs.
- Medical devices to keep you healthy.
4. Health insurance can help you protect your mental health.
In the past, health insurance offered a limited selection of mental health care benefits. However, that’s changed in recent years.
Now, most health insurance policies offer enrollees comprehensive access to mental health care and behavioral services. For many, this ends up saving their families large amounts of money each year. This is because patients with insurance usually aren’t responsible for paying the full costs associated with obtaining mental health services.
In addition to financial benefits, having health insurance allows you to access a variety of mental health services you might not be able to afford otherwise. Most policies make it possible for you to take advantage of:
- Routine appointments with therapists and psychiatrists.
- Inpatient or outpatient treatment at approved facilities.
- Substance abuse support services.