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Why should I have health care coverage?


On October 1st the Marketplace for health insurance opened to the public. Each of the 50 state exchanges began enrolling people for health care insurance. The insurance policies will go into effect on January 1, 2014. With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) set to go into effect many people have questions about how the new law will affect them. Perhaps one of the most frequent questions that uninsured people are asking is why should I buy health care insurance.


Well one of the primary reasons to buy health insurance is the spiraling cost of healthcare.  At the current time if a person broke their ankle the cost for treating the injury could be as high as $10,000. The cost of a cardiac bypass could be as high as $100,000 and the health care cost for the treatment of cancer could exceed $1,000,000. Currently unpaid medical bills are the number #1 cause of bankruptcies in the United States. 


Now that the ACA is about to go into affect there is a second reason to buy health insurance.  One of the key provisions of the ACA is the individual mandate. The individual mandate requires individuals, their children and others that they claim as a dependent on their income taxes to have health insurance starting on January 1, 2014. There are some exemptions but as January of 2014 most people that do not have health insurance will face a penalty of to up to $95 per adult or 1% of their families income whichever is greater. The penalty will increase each year and by 2016 it will be up to $695 per uninsured person or 2.5% of household income. Purchasing health insurance can be expensive but one should weight the expense against the risk and the tax consequences of going without it.

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