With the Affordable Care Act / Obamacare application period in progress for 2018, we receive questions from the public on whether they should take the chance and not have health insurance for the next year. Of course it is risky, and every person needs to make their own decision that they think is best for them and their family. But there are some reasons why you should get insurance and pros to having it, and there are also some alternatives to explore if you decide not to have it.
Most of this really applies to people who are not covered by their employer. So maybe you work part time, or you are unemployed. Or maybe your employer does not offer a health insurance policy or adequate coverage for 2018. So much of this, as to whether you should or should not get health insurance, is for those scenarios.
Health insurance is there when you need it. It limits a consumer’s financial exposure if they were to get sick, and it helps control medical costs. Another important pro to having a policy is the preventative care it encourages, such as annual physicals, flue shots, and the like. So families always need to keep in mind that insurance does not only protect against “catastrophic bills”, but rather it can encourage a healthy lifestyle too.
In our opinion, and this is just our opinion, it comes down to a few different things. The first is risk tolerance. Another key factor is whether the household has any realistic alternatives to health insurance. We think the last criteria is whether the family can afford it or not, and what a basic or pricey health or dental insurance plan will do to their household budget.
Once again, that is just our opinion. You can read many other ideas as well as cons to lacking it from other people. But in general, if there is any question in your mind, or if you feel uncomfortable at all without health insurance, then get it!
Lets dive a little more deeply into this. Risk tolerance is key. After all, that is then entire concept of insurance. If you are willing to take the chance of going all through 2018 without insurance, and take the risk of getting sick and maybe having extreme medical bills, then go for it! However many people are not willing to do that. As even going to a hospital for a day or two can even bankruptcy some families due to the cost of stay, doctor services, medications, etc. It can cost thousands of dollars, and very few families can afford that.
Now, lets review alternatives. If you have some other options to signing up for health insurance, or want to explore them, then there are options. Community clinics can often fill a gap. But the quality, as well as extent of medical care given there, will not be as great. They are good for basic things, such as check ups, immunizations, and the like. Clinics will not help for expensive surgeries, such as cancer, heart care, etc. So these health centers have both pros and cons. Find a community clinic near you.
Another option may be government entitlements. There are many that can help fill a gap, such as Medicaid or state health insurance programs for the uninsured. But they are only for very low income families. Middle class families often do not qualify.
Family income and budget is an important factor too. Health insurance is generally a “need”, and not a “want”. So if you have room in your budget for it, along with food, shelter, transportation, etc. and all those other needed costs, then we recommend get insurance. But if you are struggling to get by (due to income) then maybe look into the alternatives for low income families. However always keep in mandate that since there is a federal government “mandate” as part of Obamacare to health insurance for 2018, you may need to pay some fees if you decide to go without it.
As we said, each family needs to make their own decisions. Consider cons to having insurance, and that mostly has to do with the extra monthly bills. But there are pros too, such as peace of mind, limit exposure to getting sick, and many others. But we generally strongly recommend that everyone have some form of health insurance policy, as the risks of going without coverage is extreme.