Do I need individual private health insurance?
You don’t necessarily need to have individual private health insurance if you don’t want it, but it’s never a bad idea if you can find individual health insurance plans that fit your budget. At least for the time being the choice of whether or not to have health insurance is still left up to the individual consumer. That’s all set to change when the new healthcare regulations go into effect in 2014.
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According to census data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 22% of the American population under the age of 65 had no sort of health care insurance in 2010. That number is generally believed to be slightly lower for the 2011 calendar year. Nonetheless, the more than 5 million people without health care coverage will either pay for their healthcare and expenses out of pocket or seek financial help from other sources.
If I Don’t Have Any Coverage
Individuals who choose not to purchase private health insurance may do so because they can’t afford it, or because they simply aren’t interested in paying for it. Individuals who truly cannot afford it are usually eligible for government sponsored programs like Medicaid. If your income is too high to qualify for Medicaid, yet it’s too low for you to be able to afford your own private insurance, most state governments offer subsidized plans that fall somewhere in between. There is enough out there that anyone who truly wants health insurance can find something appropriate.
If you can afford to purchase private health insurance but you simply choose not to, you will be responsible to pay for all of your own medical care on your own.
If your state allows flexible health care spending accounts, that might be one option that would work well for you. In the case where you might need expensive care for catastrophic injury or illness you may have to set up payment plans with your doctors and healthcare facilities.
Effects of Healthcare Reform
As it currently stands, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) places a personal mandate on all adult citizens to either purchase some sort of health insurance or pay a significant penalty. The annual penalty is scheduled to be more costly than the price of purchasing health insurance, as a means of making this option unpalatable to most Americans.
The constitutionality of the individual mandate is currently the subject of much debate. The U.S. Supreme Court will likely be ruling on the issue sometime this summer. Along those same lines, data from the National Council of State Legislatures show there are no fewer than 22 states that have already taken some sort of legislative action to avoid being forced to implement many of the provisions of the ACA.
The actions in question include laws already enacted, legislation which has been approved but not yet signed, non-binding resolutions adopted by state legislatures and, in the case of Ohio, a voter-approved constitutional amendment. How all of this legislative activity plays out relies heavily on the decision reached by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Public and Private Health Insurance
As a general rule you cannot mix the two types of health care coverage for routine care and most forms of catastrophic care. However, it is entirely possible for Medicare patients to purchase supplemental health insurance policies that provide further prescription medication coverage, long-term care, and other similar things. As for individuals on Medicaid or other government subsidized plans, the general thinking is that those who can afford to purchase supplemental plans shouldn’t be on government assistance.
On the other hand, you can purchase your own individual private health insurance plan through your employer or directly on your own, then supplement it with as many additional policies as you see fit. The beauty of private health insurance is that your options are entirely up to you and your insurance carriers. If you want coverage, and you can pay for it, carriers will be more than happy to provide it.
If you don’t currently have health insurance of any kind, and you can afford to get private insurance, it’s a good idea to find private health insurance companies that will cover you. If you can’t afford it, contact your local social services department to find out if you qualify for a public health care insurance plan.
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