While politicians work to create a system of fair health insurance coverage for all Americans, as it is now, there are advantages and disadvantages to the insurance options we have currently. It is important to know what they are and how to fix them.
Preventative Medicine: Without question, the biggest advantage of having health insurance is for preventative medicine. Almost universally, the earlier a health condition is diagnosed, the more completely it can be treated. This prevention means healthier people and lower cost, since prevention is always less costly than treatment. Those who don’t have health coverage do not typically maintain their health with preventative visits. This leads to more severe medical problems and illnesses in the uninsured population.
Freedom from Stress: When you have health insurance, you will most likely not be stressed out by worry and wondering, “what if.” When a new pain, symptom or injury occurs, the insured person knows they can go see their own physician at little or no cost to themselves. Uninsured people often wait to seek treatment because they just can’t afford to pay for a doctor visit. Since the uninsured have no means of repayment for services they receive, this leads to more strain on the already burdened health care system.
Less Missed Work: When an employed person gets sick, they can see a doctor, be treated and return to work in short order. Uninsured workers get sicker without any treatment; therefore, they end up with more missed days from work, meaning lost productivity.
Costs and Coverage: Primarily, the biggest disadvantage of health insurance is the expensive premiums. Insurance can save money on medical bills but payment must be made to keep your insurance active. Premiums can increase frequently, yet your coverage does not improve. Insurance carriers also have the option of reducing coverage for certain services.
The Fine Print: Health insurance policies can read like a technical manual, making them tough to decipher. Often you must be referred to see a specialist and your policy may not cover certain medications. Likewise, procedures the insurance companies decide to classify as “elective” or “experimental” can also be denied coverage even if your physician declares you need the treatment.
No Choice: The coverage many people have will only allow you to choose your provider from a short list of approved physicians. This limitation on personal health choice usually will apply to which hospitals you may use for treatments or surgeries.
There is no doubt that it is more beneficial to have some health insurance coverage than none at all. Nevertheless, before you decide which policy is right for you, be sure to read it over and know what your benefits will cover.
Jerry enjoys writing about health and medical related issues. His company offers free medical imaging software available for download.