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Do you need health insurance?

When it comes to the health insurance debate, there are so many different points of view out there that coming to a unanimous agreement about anything is next to impossible. Two of the most interesting and basic sides of the argument are:

  1. Those individuals who state that everyone needs some sort of health insurance.
  2. Those individuals who think you don’t–that healthy living and a catastrophic policy are all many people need.

So which side is right? Well, that really depends on your individual situation and health.

To have Health Insurance

Health insurance can do more than just get you treatment when you are ill or injured. It can help you afford a quality of treatment that you might not be able to when paying out-of-pocket. Health insurance also ensures that your savings – which you work hard to accumulate – remains untouched in the face of an expensive health issue. If you work with an in-network practitioner or facility, you will also benefit from the discounts the insurance company has negotiated, which further serve to protect your bottom line.

Of course, there can be some drawbacks to having health insurance. It is possible that you could have insurance for decades without your healthcare expenses during that time actually making the premium ‘worthwhile.’ But it is important to remember that a health insurance policy isn’t a coupon plan that you pay a premium for and expect to ‘profit’ from. Health insurance, like all other insurance policies, is there to provide you protection against the risk that you could have heavy bills for unexpected medical treatments. This protection against risk is the most important intangible benefit to insurance that there is.

To have Not

For many people, health insurance is a prohibitively expensive purchase. The monthly premiums can be overwhelming to those with an already tight budget and if these individuals are relatively healthy and rarely ill, they may not use the insurance enough to actually make it worth having.

For these individuals, staying healthy by eating right and exercising and having a catastrophic plan for accidents could be the best, and most affordable, solution. However, it is important to remember that a catastrophic plan may provide no insurance for treatment of long-term illnesses. Additionally, as you age it will become more expensive and difficult to qualify for health insurance coverage. And if you wait until you are sick before you attempt to get health insurance, you may not be insurable at all. Finally, you can accumulate a massive amount of debt getting treatment for an accident or illness if you are not covered with health insurance.

At this point, health insurance is an optional protection – like life insurance. It is up to each individual to determine whether their financial situation and prior health experience justify the purchase of insurance or not. But before you make the decision, it is a good idea to compare health insurance premiums and determine just how affordable a policy might be.

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