Do You Really Need Health Insurance?


Being Uninsured Does Not Come Without Consequences

With the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) now in effect, the question of buying insurance versus paying continually rising fines is a serious question on people's minds. Purchasing insurance can be invaluable to your health, wealth, and peace of mind, but many people go without it, despite the potential fines.

Most people who forgo health insurance say they do so because they can’t afford it, but there are many other excuses people use: they don’t need it because they are healthy, hospitals are required to provide care in emergency situations, it is not worth it or they will just “tough it out” if they get sick. While it may seem too expensive at first, there are many consequences of not having health insurance, which makes it necessary in today's society.

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A Leading Cause Of Death

A study conducted by Harvard researchers found that in 2009, 45,000 people's deaths were associated with not having health insurance. Uninsured people's risk of death is up by 40 percent to the privately insured population of America. These staggering statistics would have made it the tenth leading cause of death in the United States for that year. By comparison, the number of AIDS deaths that year was an estimated 17,774.

Lack Of Coverage And Your Health

A report published by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that people who have health insurance have 10 to 15 percent lower mortality rates. Essentially, without insurance people are more likely to die sooner.

The increase in the mortality rate is due mostly to the lack of screenings for the uninsured. They are less likely to be screened for cancer, heart disease and diabetes, leading to higher mortality rates for serious ailments.

The high mortality rate can also be partially attributed to the delay in seeking treatment for a health issue. Uninsured people usually try to tough through sickness and pain, making them in worse condition by the initial doctor visit. By not having access to affordable care, preventable diseases can become fatal ones.

Lack Of Coverage And Your Finances

Not having insurance can create a financial snowball effect, sending you and your family into dire financial need.

Due to lack of treatment, when the uninsured get sick they usually remain sick longer than the insured. This can easily translate to missing work, which will invariably have a detrimental impact on a paycheck.

Children without health insurance are equally as likely to have poor health as uninsured adults. When children have chronic health issues they don't develop cognitive functions as well as healthy children, typically do poorer in school and are less likely to make it to college, which lessens their future earnings potential.

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Debunking The Excuses

While it is true that in most states, hospital emergency rooms are required to stabilize a person even if they don't have insurance, any additional treatment must be paid in some part by the patient. If treatment involves an overnight stay, the costs that the uninsured will need to pay can easily reach and exceed thousands of dollars.

It is possible that you will never have much of a need for health insurance, but if you ever do need it and do not have it, then you will be putting yourself and your family at risk for losing money, and potentially years off of your lives. It is strongly recommended (and now required by law) that you do what you can to get health insurance as soon as possible; and when you get it—use it.

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