American health insurance is, without a doubt, flawed. Which is understandable considering it remains a burning political issue across the country.
The controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (better known as “Obama-Care”) was meant to expand the coverage of healthcare to all Americans and, by 2014, it effectively halved the number of uninsured patients in America with a focus on families in the bottom 40% of the income distribution – albeit, at the cost of higher taxes.
Obama Care was, in my opinion, a valiant effort and a good start towards making healthcare more affordable to lower-income families. That being said, I admit that it came with its share of flaws/setbacks and I can understand the concerns of those who criticize Obama-Care.
There is a striking amount of varying opinions when it comes to health care & insurance, with the right & left political spectrums in constant disagreement on whether or not to prioritize expanding health insurance to reach more people in need or to remain conservative with their budget to avoid raising taxes.
There are valid arguments on both sides, but we’re not here to discuss politics.
Rather, I want to discuss some important facts relating to U.S. health insurance to better inform those who wish to start getting coverage, change their health insurance provider, or simply be better informed/educated on the current state of Health Insurance in America.
On that note, let’s begin.
Most (if not all) Universities Require You to be Insured
Something very important to keep in mind is that, if you plan on applying for University, health care will nearly always be a prerequisite.
This can vary between institutions, but the basis of this comes from a federal law that states that students must have health insurance under certain circumstances.
Thankfully, most universities have their own unique health plan that you can opt-into, which will usually be more affordable than typical healthcare plans.
Nearly all colleges & universities in America will have their own on-site health clinics for treating their student body.
Coverage for things like the flu-shots, dental care, and x-rays is also widespread, but tends to vary between states, counties, and institutions.
Know Your Options
Each healthcare plan comes with its own advantages, disadvantages and unique benefits. Before deciding, it’s very important to identify exactly what kind of care you and your family require, and equally important to understand what options you have at your disposal.
The options that certain Healthcare companies provide can vary from state-to-state in terms of care options and benefits.
A member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in Pennsylvania who offer expert advice on their website on all concerns related to medicare, family healthcare plans, as well as health insurance plans for employers will have vastly different options than a Blue Cross Blue Shield member of say, Alabama.
Be sure that the insurance plan information that you’re getting applies to your specific state/jurisdiction.
First of all, if you are currently employed, review any benefits or plans that your company provides before looking into healthcare plans.
Similarly, if you’re a post-secondary student, get all the information regarding the coverage your university/college may provide. This way you’ll know exactly what you need from your insurance plan.
There are a few different categories of healthcare plans to consider, PPO plans offer a bit more in the way of choice and offer a network of care providers to choose from, you’ll receive maximum benefits of seeking care within their network but still get some coverage for out-of-network care.
American Health Insurance is NOT Universal
As I mentioned earlier, Obama Care was meant to expand the coverage for health-insurance to Americans, and while it has accomplished this to some degree – Obama-Care is not free.
Rather, it’s subsidized for qualifying low-income families. It’s made health care much more affordable to those who need it most which is (arguably) a step in the right direction – you will still need to organize your own private insurance.
So, Obama-Care can potentially make your insurance cheaper, but it’s not free. Far from it, actually.
The concept of universal health care (free health care for all citizens) may seem like an idealistic goal, and for America, it might be just that.
Trying to establish such a system is a monstrously expensive venture and usually takes years (if not decades) for it to be properly, and effectively implemented. And the time and effort it will take to make free health care a realistic dream could wind up being the most expensive and time-consuming innovation to date. But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Countries like Norway, Denmark, and especially Canada who’s had some form of universal health care since the ’60s are proof that we CAN achieve this goal. It’s just a matter of finding a way that we can all agree on that doesn’t bankrupt the country… easier said than done, I know.
U.S. Health Insurance is the Most Expensive in the World (Per-Capita)
That’s right… we’re the so-called “leaders of the free world” and yet American citizens still pay more on average for health insurance than any other nation. It’s mind-blowing, I know.
Studies have shown that, on average, American citizens will spend 2.5 times more on health care than a resident of the United Kingdom. It’s tough to admit, but we may not be #1 in everything and we shouldn’t shy away from learning from our friends overseas.
Though Obama Care has taken steps towards mitigating this difference, we have a long way to go. We shouldn’t abandon the dream of universal healthcare, but we also shouldn’t rush anything. If the current political climate has taught us anything, we should avoid making any more hasty decisions…
There you have it, these are just a few of the many concepts that one should keep in mind when getting information on the healthcare system in America. I encourage readers to continue your research and make sure you’ve explored your options thoroughly before choosing your plan.
Getting you and your family insured with American healthcare shouldn’t be nearly as difficult or expensive as it currently. By staying informed and knowing your options, you’ve got a much better shot at securing your family’s future without it causing too many financial problems.
Best of luck to all, and remember, getting insured doesn’t need to be a painful process if you know how the system works!