Why Do I Need to Get Health Insurance?
Just the Essentials…
- You should get health insurance to take advantage of ACA programs for disease prevention, wellness, and early detection.
- A health insurance plan can help you take advantage of ACA programs for mental health care.
- A health insurance plan can also help you take advantage of tax credits, premium assistance, and cost assistance features in the ACA.
Why is having health insurance so important?
Of all the questions you have on your mind about health insurance, there’s one you probably ask more often than the rest: “Why do I need to get health insurance?”
There’s more than one good answer to that question. We cannot stress enough how important a great health insurance plan is to not only your well-being, but to the well-being of your loved ones as well.
The primary goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to help you maintain good health. It is more beneficial in the long run to promote living a healthier lifestyle and adopting healthy habits than it is to simply continue treating illnesses comorbid to living unhealthy lifestyles. Access to regular health care helps all Americans lead healthier, longer lives.
So, why do you need to get health insurance? Read on to learn more about why it’s a good idea.
Compare prices for health insurance plans that meet your needs today. Enter your zip code at the top of the page to find cost-effective options for health insurance in your area.
The National Agenda to Improve Health Insurance Coverage
Reforming the way that Americans gain access to health insurance and healthcare services has long been a priority of our elected officials. The March 2010 enactment of the ACA was a major first step toward making health insurance available and affordable for all Americans. While the necessity of the ACA remains a topic of debate for some, few can doubt its success in making health insurance coverage easier to obtain.
At its core, the ACA was designed as a way for Americans to take steps toward leading healthier lives. The act was established with three primary goals in mind:
- To reform the insurance market.
- To expand Medicaid to the working poor.
- To change the way that medical decisions are made.
Through these goals, the ACA is designed to cover all Americans, keeping individuals in good health as much as possible through preventative action and wellness services.
How is the government working to make health insurance more affordable?
The United States has a long history of Americans going without health insurance coverage for one reason or another. The statistics below showcase data from recent CDC studies revealing that a sizeable portion of the American population remains uninsured:
- Uninsured under age 65: 31.2 million
- Percent uninsured under age 65: 11.5%
- Percent uninsured under age 18: 5.1%
- Percent uninsured ages 18-64: 13.9%
While these percentage points are low, some experts have stated that they reflect a steady growth (that has been ongoing since 2017) in the population of uninsured Americans. Why are so many Americans still uninsured? The primary factor is the cost of premiums.
Though the ACA has made health insurance more affordable for most, many uninsured Americans say that health insurance premiums are still too expensive for them to take on. In 2019, a study showed that 73.7% of uninsured adults stated that they did not have health insurance because the cost was too high. This has led to a call for further reforms to the ACA.
The most recent action taken by Congress was a proposal for two specific reforms to the ACA:
- Making the enhanced premium subsidies included in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) permanent.
- Filling the “Medicaid gap” by extending eligibility for Marketplace subsidies to people earning below 100% of the Federal Poverty Line in 12 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid.
Both actions are designed to increase health insurance coverage through vast reductions in premiums.
Why do I need to get health insurance? - The Human Benefit
If adding a new cost to your monthly budget is what makes you nervous about purchasing a health insurance plan, consider instead the positive impact that purchasing health insurance will have on your life overall. The good that a comprehensive health insurance policy can do for you and your family absolutely justifies the cost.
A vast majority of diseases miss early treatment and detection because so many Americans still do not have health insurance. Early detection and treatment of many diseases which prove fatal to many Americans each year, such as Type 2 Diabetes and Cancer, could prevent a great deal of suffering and loss.
When certain diseases are detected and treated early, most require no more than dietary improvements and lifestyle changes to maintain a high standard quality of life. This is where the ACA is helpful to all Americans – it allows for the provision of better quality of health insurance for all.
Why do I need to get health insurance? - The Financial Benefit
Obtaining and keeping a health insurance policy provides plenty of long-term and short-term benefits for everyone. As the need for care related to serious medical issues rises, so does the cost of care. By using your health insurance plan to help you maintain a healthier lifestyle, you’re doing your own small part to help keep the overall cost of medical care down.
Many individuals do their part by using health savings accounts, which are often provided by an employer*, to save money and supplement the cost of their existing plans. Overall, health insurance helps you protect your savings, income, and other assets by providing a way to take care of medical issues without having to dip into money from another source.
*If you purchased a High Deductible Health Plan, such as a Bronze or Silver plan, from the ACA Marketplace, you are allowed to contribute to a health savings account. If you have a health insurance plan with a lower deductible, you will not be able to contribute to a health savings account.
Did you know you can offset the cost of ACA Marketplace plan premiums with tax credits? If you’re looking to keep the cost of your ACA Marketplace plan low and you meet a certain income bracket, you may qualify for a tax credit to help lower the cost of your monthly premium**. You may also be eligible for other forms of cost assistance. **Primary criteria for eligibility of the premium tax credit is having an income within 400% of the Federal Poverty Line.
I’m Ready to Get Health Insurance. How Do I Enroll?
In most cases, the only way that you can enroll in a health insurance plan, especially if it’s offered through the ACA Marketplace, is to wait for the annual Open Enrollment Period. Open Enrollment is a period of time from the beginning of November through the end of January during which the ACA and private insurers allow you to compare and purchase a health insurance plan for you and your family.
If you need assistance outside of the Open Enrollment Period, the ACA has a Special Enrollment extension period that stays open for 60 days outside of Open Enrollment. If you need more immediate access to health insurance, you are typically able to purchase a short-term health insurance plan from a private insurer at any time.
It’s never too early to start looking for a health insurance plan that meets your needs. Enter your zip code to find available health insurance plans in your area.