The Necessity of Health Insurance

With the economy in a weakened state and traditional long-term employment at the same company becoming more uncertain as time goes by, many more people are deciding to make the transition to working for themselves than ever before. Unfortunately, the subject of health insurance is one not seriously considered when making the move to self-employment. People often think about the amount of money that they've spent on medical bills in the past and use that as a barometer for their future expenses. Lulled into a false sense of security, this has even persuaded some to avoid the purchase of health insurance altogether.

But, it's important to think of how expensive health insurance really is. While you didn't pay much on those checkups and doctor visits you may have had in the past few years, that doesn't mean it would have been affordable if you'd had to go it alone. If you would have ever seen the total bills, you'd undoubtedly be shocked at just how much even something simple can be. For instance, a few blood tests can easily run several hundred of dollars. If you needed anything more, it could spike into the thousands. And, a few days' stay in the hospital can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Even those prescription drugs that you get for a copay of $20 could be hundreds of dollars per prescription without insurance coverage.

Needless to say, health insurance is important. So, when you start to look for a good healthcare plan that's also affordable, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Shop around. Quotes and coverage can differ substantially from one company to the next. You should contact at least five companies and discuss their coverage options. While this may seem like a lot of calls to make, it'll be worth it to have the best policy in place when you need it.
  • Know what’s covered. In addition to regular office visits, be fully aware of just what's covered under a policy and what's not, as well as any pre-existing condition- and waiting-period regulations that may be enforced.
  • What else is available? In addition to the standard healthcare coverage, you may be able to find policies that add other items such as a prescription drug plan, dental coverage and vision-care insurance. While a coverage plan with these additional features may cost a little more, it'll be well worth it if you anticipate using those services down the road.
  • Check the company's history. Look for a reputable company. A company with great prices is of no use if they're not going to be around when you need them to pay for your medical expenses. Research the history of the companies you're contacting and make sure that they have positive reviews.
  • Buy now. Health insurance can be a very costly endeavor and many people attempt to put it off for a while, even for years. But it's important to note, if you do so the price will only go up. The older you are when you sign up for health insurance, the higher the premium will be.

Certainly, no one likes to pay the premiums that come with health insurance. Unfortunately, the possibility of not having it and then being hit with crushing medical bills is an option that you probably can't afford to risk.

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