Few things are as important as health insurance. Many countries have what is called “single payer” healthcare. Health insurance for everyone comes out of taxes. If you get sick, you are automatically covered. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in America. Without health insurance, a serious but treatable illness could be a death sentence. This is why it is important to always be insured…
I knew someone who was travelling overseas. She was young and in good health, and figured she didn’t need health insurance – she had scarcely been sick a day in her life. She was in South America, when she started to feel nausea, and dizzy spells. At first she ignored them, but they soon grew worse. She returned to the United States and went to a doctor, and discovered that she had cancer. A doctor’s visit, combined with a battery of tests can, by its self, cost hundreds of dollars. Treatment for cancer can run into the thousands, or even the tens or hundreds of thousands easily. She was unable to afford this kind of expense, and grew sick and eventually passed away. It was a tragic and avoidable death – if she had been insured, things might have turned out much differently.
There are several different kinds of health insurance. The most traditional kind is called a Fee-For-Service plan. It has the advantage of giving you a greater range of choices than any other health care plan – you can go to any doctor you want to. You pay a monthly premium, and also have a deductible, perhaps $250 or $500. This is the amount of medical expenses which you have to pay in any given year before your insurance takes effect. After that, it pays a majority of further medical expense while you pay a small portion, often around 20%.
Another type is called the HMO or Health Management Organization. An HMO has a staff of doctors, often in one or several central locations, which it requires all of its patients to go to. Although you don’t have nearly the number of choices yo do with a fee-for-service plan, your health costs will be much lower. There is a small fee charged for each visit to a doctor, but most other costs are covered by your insurance.
Most professionals are insured through their jobs. Their bosses are able to buy insurance at group rates, which saves money, and so they can offer their employees cheaper insurance than they could purchase on their own. Unfortunately, the way health insurance is set up can cause serious problems for an employee who develops a serious or chronic condition. If they wish to leave the company, they will not be able to find new insurance to cover them, because of their pre-existing condition. Other insurers will not want to cover them, because their condition means that their healthcare costs are likely to be higher than the amount of money which they pay for coverage. Therefore, they may because of their illness, be unable to leave their company, even if their job is unsatisfying.