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It is undeniable that health insurance makes healthcare more accessible, including preventive services such as screenings and regular check-ups with your doctor.
Consider the fact that only a third of the uninsured U.S population scheduled a preventive visit with their doctor in 2013. On the other hand, 74% of adults with health insurance saw their doctor for a preventive visit during the same year.
But is health insurance a necessity for young, healthy people?
If you never get sick or take medications it can be easy to believe you don’t need health insurance at all.
If you don’t have insurance, or have a policy that doesn’t meet your needs, it’s important that you learn more about healthcare coverage to find a policy that matches your needs and your budget rather than forgo healthcare.
If you are under 30, there are several options for health insurance:
1. Catastrophic health insurance plan.
These plans have low monthly premiums and very high deductibles. They may be ideal for healthy young adults without medical problems. Catastrophic health insurance plans include the same essential health benefits as other marketplace plans. They also cover the same preventive care services at no cost. This allows you to continue annual checkups and screenings without paying out of pocket.
Catastrophic health insurance may be an affordable way to protect yourself from worst-case scenarios, like getting seriously sick or injured. These plans will cover at least three primary care visits per year before you’ve met your deductible. Typically with a high deductible plan, you pay most routine medical expenses yourself until you’ve met your deductible and then the plan begins paying towards medical costs as well.
2. Getting or staying on a parent’s plan.
If you are under 26 you may be able to get on a parent’s health insurance plan. If your parent has a job-based health insurance plan, you can be added during annual open enrollment. If your parent has health insurance purchased through the marketplace you can be added at the time your parent applies for a new plan or during open enrollment if you are being added to an existing plan.
Generally, you can join a parent’s plan and stay on until you turn 26 even if you:
- Get married
- Have or adopt a child
- Start or leave school
- Live in or out of your parent’s home
- Aren’t claimed as a tax dependent
- Turn down an offer of job-based coverage
3. Are you eligible for Medicaid?
Coverage is available on a state level, which means requirements vary depending on where you live.
The Affordable Care Act sets the minimum income that makes you eligible for Medicaid at 133% of the federal poverty level. It’s possible that your state offers coverage to individuals who earn more.
Even if you’re eligible for Medicaid, you can also purchase additional coverage if you feel that these programs do not entirely meet your needs.
It’s important to select a health insurance policy that corresponds to your needs and budget.
Your premiums are based on how likely you are to need coverage for medical expenses. These are the factors healthcare insurance providers look at:
- Your age. Purchasing healthcare coverage while you’re young and healthy will help you secure low premiums.
- Your location. The cost of living in your area can affect your premiums.
- Smoking. Using tobacco could result in your premiums being 50% higher than the premiums offered to a non-smoker.
- The type of plan you purchase. Premiums are higher for policies with lower out-of-pocket amounts.
There are many downsides to not having healthcare, including putting off screenings for a number of health conditions and not scheduling regular check-ups with your doctor. Should you become ill or injured, you would end up with huge medical bills. Learn from my costly mistake and always schedule and keep your annual screening.