How Risky Is It To Be Uninsured Against Major Medical Costs?

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The Problem of the Uninsured

Many people do not have health insurance either out of choice or out of necessity. Some healthy people get by without health insurance because they never get medical care and they don’t believe that they need health insurance. Some people cannot afford insurance or cannot find any types of health insurance. Being uninsured is risky for those who choose to be uninsured and for those who wish they were insured. Providing health insurance coverage for the uninsured is an important part of an effective health care system.

Uninsured By Choice

Some healthy people think that they are indestructible, including many younger people. These people have been in good health for most of their lives and they have gotten by with very little health care.

Choosing to be uninsured when one can afford to be insured is a financially risky option. It only takes one accident or health crisis for an otherwise healthy person to incur a high amount of health care expenses. A short ride to the hospital in an ambulance and a brief two hour stay in an emergency room is enormously expensive.

Most Uninsured Have No Choice

Most uninsured people are not uninsured by choice. They simply cannot afford health insurance or they cannot find an insurer who is willing to sell them an insurance policy. Individual health insurance policies are underwritten by insurance companies to identify risk factors and to increase premiums for these risk factors. People with major health conditions can even be considered uninsurable by some insurers.

Ironically, if a person incurs high medical bills due to being uninsured and becomes poor from paying these bills, a person might become eligible for Medicaid coverage. Medicaid is a federal health insurance program that is given to people with a low income and is also given to some people with high ongoing medical expenses. Some people with high medical debt are not eligible for Medicaid, and they have no choice but to wait for their creditors to take them to court or file bankruptcy.

Many health policy organizations, nonprofit groups, and government organizations are studying ways to provide health insurance for the uninsured. Health care reform can reduce the number of people without health insurance, but in order to be effective the reforms may need to require everyone to carry health insurance.


Get Some Heath Insurance,

This post is part of the series: Types of Health Insurance

Get some useful information about different types of health insurance. Be informed before you make important health insurance choices.

  1. Is an Indemnity Health Insurance Plan a Good Idea?
  2. Should I Sign Up for a High Deductible Health Plan?
  3. Financial Risks of Being Uninsured
  4. Does Medicare Cover All Health Care Expenses?