Health Insurance Basics
Health insurance is coverage for when you need to visit the doctor. Whether it is a clinic or urgent care visit, emergency room, therapy, or a hospitalization, you only have to pay a fraction of the cost if you have insurance versus trying to pay it all out-of-pocket. A four-day hospital stay can total out at around $19,000 by the time you’re discharged, and most emergency room visits are at least a few thousand each visit. This all adds up quickly and can put a strain on anyone’s finances.
Ideally, everyone should be covered by health insurance. Most hospitals or clinics will do payment plans and work with you to pay your bill but with insurance you have the piece of mind knowing exactly what you’ll pay, if anything at all; from a hospital visit.
When anyone enrolls in their chosen health care plan, you join a group of people that shares the cost of any illnesses or injuries. Your insurance pools all the resources of everyone enrolled and uses them to pay for the health care cost of members when they need it. This can include prescription drugs, emergency room visits, therapy, and hospitalization. Once you are enrolled, most insurances have monthly payments or premiums you pay to have this coverage. You may also have a deductible, which is what you’ll pay out-of-pocket before anything is covered. As soon as you pay your deductible, everything is usually covered at no additional cost to the patient. An enrollee might have a co-pay, which is a set amount you pay each time you visit a medical office for treatment.
There are several choices for insurance plans. An HMO means you can only visit certain doctors or offices and be covered. People under 30 can get a Catastrophic Plan. This covers all preventative care but carries a high deductible. You may also be eligible for insurance through your state. If you are, everything is usually covered at no cost to you.
A major benefit of having insurance is the piece of mind, knowing you will be covered if anything goes wrong.