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Why Do I Need Health Insurance?

September 25, 2019

With all the recent changes to health care, many people who have never felt financially able to buy health insurance before, will now have the opportunity. In fact, the Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to obtain health insurance coverage. Some people- especially young, healthy people who don’t visit doctors on a regular basis- may be wondering why they need coverage.

Our insurance experts here at ABHO say there’s a list of reasons an individual may want to consider buying health insurance, and many of them are related to health care reform.

The first reason was triggered by the ACA: You may face a financial penalty if you don’t have coverage. Most Americans must have coverage or face a tax penalty- $695 per adult or 2.5% of annual income (whichever is greater).

The next reason is one many Americans believe could never happen to them: You risk financial ruin. Even if you’re healthy now, a sudden diagnosis of a serious and costly disease or accident could leave you with astronomical medical bills. Staggeringly high medical bills is one of the most common reasons people declare bankruptcy.

Another reason cited by healthcare reform lawmakers is that people without health insurance don’t have access to preventative care. New ACA laws require insurance companies to cover annual checkups and preventive care like immunizations, some cancer screenings, and mammograms. That type of care is more likely to help people stay healthy and catch health problems earlier, when they’re easier to treat.

Our insurance experts say under new ACA laws, you may have trouble obtaining follow-up care. While emergency departments at all hospitals are required to care for patients, regardless of their ability to pay, they are not required to cover follow up care. Rehab, supplemental care, and other services required to fully heal from an injury or illness is often going to cost.

It’s important to sign up for health care during the government mandated “Open Enrollment”. People with moderate and low incomes may be eligible for tax credits and subsidies to offset the cost of premiums and out of pocket expenses for plans sold on the health exchanges.

And remember: Consumers can only purchase individual health insurance during that "Open Enrollment". Unless you qualify for a special enrollment period, if you miss the deadline, you will not be able to purchase health insurance again until the following "Open Enrollment".