Young and Healthy? 4 Reasons You Should Still Get Health Insurance
The health insurance tax penalty is going away next year, which means you will no longer be fined for going uninsured in 2019. With the penalty gone, is there even a point to buying health insurance if you’re young and healthy?
The short answer? Yes! In fact, we have four good reasons why young adults should still strongly consider buying health insurance for 2019.
1. Stuff Happens… and It Can Get Expensive
Health insurance isn’t always cheap, and skipping out on it might seem like you’re saving money in the short run, especially when you are young and healthy. Unfortunately, unexpected illnesses and accidents do happen, and they are much more expensive when you’re uninsured. Something like a broken leg from skiing, cycling, or playing sports costs an average of $7,500 without insurance! A three-day hospital stay? We’re talking as much as $30,000.
Here’s the good news: while health insurance is an investment up front, it caps the amount you will spend in a year on health care. Hospitalization, for example, is one of the benefits that ACA-approved health plans are legally required to cover. This means that whether or not you use it frequently, your health insurance protects you from bankruptcy in the event of an emergency.
2. All Plans Come with Free Services That Keep You Healthy
Feeling healthy? Let’s keep it that way! Certain types of health services – such as routine physicals, immunizations, and cancer screenings – help you catch medical conditions before they grow serious, which helps keep you healthy as you get older. This is called preventive care.
Every health plan comes with free preventive care (you won’t even have to pay a copay!) that can help keep you young and healthy. Even less expensive plans get all the same preventive services as fancier plans, which means you can buy the cheapest health insurance available and still get access to:
Annual well-woman visits, including pap smears
Blood pressure & cholesterol screenings
3. You’ll Likely Qualify for Very Low Prices
Depending on your annual income, you could qualify for a subsidy, which is money the government will put towards your monthly premiums. Subsidies are available to almost half of the U.S. population and can make health insurance very affordable; some people even end up paying as little as $1/month for their plans. Eligibility for a subsidy depends on where you live, but if you’re the only person in your taxable household, you’ll generally qualify if your income is under $50,000.
4. Simple, More Affordable Plan Options Exist
When shopping for health insurance, you’ll notice that different plans are categorized by different metal tiers: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Each metal tier increases in price and level of coverage; platinum plans are the most expensive, but also pay the largest portion of your medical bills. If you don’t need health care often, opt for a less expensive bronze plan. Bronze plans generally have higher deductibles, which means if you do need health care, you’ll have to pay more out-of-pocket. However, these plans cap your annual medical costs, protecting you during medical emergencies without requiring large monthly payments. Plus, bronze plans fully cover preventive care, so you can still get your annual checkup (and more) at no cost!
If you’re younger than 30 and don’t expect to need much health care, you can also consider a catastrophic plan. Don’t let the name scare you – this type of health insurance is simply a less expensive option for younger people. In exchange for their low monthly premiums, catastrophic plans have very high deductibles, which means their primary purpose is to protect you financially in a medical emergency. Catastrophic plans are unique in that they not only cover preventive care, but also three primary care visits during the year!
Ready to Shop for a Plan?
When shopping for a plan, enter your income on Stride to see if you qualify for a subsidy. You’ll also be able to see all of your available plans at the lowest prices, and filter your results by metal tier if you’d like to select a bronze or catastrophic option.