Iím young and healthy. Why do I need health insurance?
You need health insurance because itís the smart thing to do. Life is full of risks, many of them completely unforeseeable. You could get the flu, sustain a sports injury, or be involved in a car accident. Health insurance not only can get you faster and better health care, but the out-of-pocket costs to you will be less with insurance than without.
Thereís also preventative care. Health insurance allows you to get regular checkups and, in many cases, early detection and treatment for serious conditions. Plus, itís nice to have a doctor you can call with questions or concerns.
Why canít I buy health insurance later, when I really need it?
Youíll spend much less money on health insurance if you buy it when youíre healthy than if you wait until you get sick. For example, a healthy 22-year old man living in Nashville would spend on average about $70 a month for health insurance. Compare that to on average about $240 a month if he had diabetes, depression, hypertension, obesity or severe asthma.
Plus, many insurance companies charge higher premiums if you have a pre-existing conditionóthat is, if youíre already ill or injured when you apply for health insurance. They might refuse to cover costs for that particular illness, for up to a year. Or, they might refuse to insure you at all.
The bottom line: Insurance is a thing you need when you donít need it.
Iím still covered on my parentsí insurance policy, right?
It depends. Youíre probably covered on your parentsí health insurance policy if youíre a full-time student in high school or college. In some states, you might be covered until youíre 25 if youíre unmarried and living at home. However, if youíre out of school and out of the family household, youíre probably responsible for your own health insurance.
It canít really cost that much if I get sickÖcan it?
Yes, it canóand thatís not the only risk you run. Without health insurance, some doctors and hospitals can refuse to treat you. If they do consent to treatment, it can cost you an arm and a leg (no fooling).
Are you a snowboarder or skateboarder? The average cost to X-ray, set, and cast a broken leg is over $10,000.
Still got those tonsils? A routine tonsillectomy for a healthy adult is more than $5,000.
Rugby, soccer, football, tennis? The average cost to repair a knee injury is almost $12,000.
And those estimates donít include the costs of your hospital stayóaround $1,500 per day. Without health insurance, these expenses are billed directly to you.