Why Having Comprehensive Health Insurance Matters

Having comprehensive, affordable health insurance matters to everyone.
Why Having Comprehensive Health Insurance Matters - Articles

Updated: September 24, 2013

Why Having Comprehensive Health Insurance Matters

Individuals and families with health insurance have greater access to healthcare services which can lead to longer, healthier lives.

These services include preventive services such as immunizations; screenings for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease; oral health care; and for serious health issues such as obesity, drug and alcohol addictions, and mental health disorders. Health insurance also helps pay for hospitalizations, laboratory tests, rehabilitations services, and home health and nursing home care. The Institute for Medicine found 18,000 Americans die each year because they do not have health insurance.

Having health affordable health insurance also protects individuals and families from financial risk. Half of all bankruptcies are related to health care costs; in most cases borne by people who do not have enough health insurance to pay for their healthcare costs.

Consider this information:

The chart below shows how health care has been paid in the United States. Note that 18 percent of Americans have no health insurance at any given time.

How Health Care is Supported in the United States

  • Ten percent of Americans are responsible for 64 percent of all health care costs in a given year.
  • The healthiest 50 percent of the population accounts for just 3 percent of total healthcare spending, in any given year.
  • Just 1 percent of the population accounts for about 25 percent of all healthcare spending in the United States.
  • The sickest 5 percent of people account for half of total spending.

Odds are you won't need very costly care during any given year but, everyone is at risk of needing costly healthcare services. Health insurance should ensure our financial and health security so we do not have to gamble with our own or our families' health.

Most of us are healthy most of the time but, sooner or later, there will come a time when almost all of us will we need costly health care. So, while it is a good bet that you will not use your health insurance much, it's also important for your health and financial security to have good health insurance.

References:

Authors

Personal Financial Education Consumer Education

More by Cathy F. Bowen, Ph.D.