Home > Learning Center > Don't Gamble with Your Finances: Get Health Insurance

If you are young and healthy, you may think you're fine going without health insurance. But that could be a big mistake. Like any other kind of insurance, health insurance is something you pay for hoping to never use, but if you need it, you will be glad you have it.

Health insurance is expensive, there's no doubt about that. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2011, single people paid more than $900 a year and families paid more than $4,000 for coverage. And that's only people who get health insurance through their employers, which means the premiums are subsidized. Of course, that doesn't include deductibles and co-pays, which can add hundreds to thousands more annually. Those costs are generally tax deductible, however.

That said, those costs don't come close to the medical bills you could face from one serious accident or illness. And those bills can be even higher if you don't have insurance, because hospitals charge uninsured patients more than insured patients, because insurance companies negotiate reduced rates. With the average cost of a visit to the emergency room running more than $1,300, it's easy to see why medical bills are the reason behind more than half the bankruptcies in the U.S.

Another reason you should get health insurance is that there may be a time in your life when you can't. If you find out you have a chronic illness while uninsured, such as diabetes, for example, it may make it difficult or impossible for you to get health insurance in the future. And many health insurance companies pay for preventive care such as physicals and cancer screenings, which can help you prevent or catch serious illnesses early when they are more treatable.

Going without health insurance is definitely a gamble, not only with your finances but also with your well being.









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