The Value of Health Insurance - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

The Value of Health Insurance


UNDATED (HEALTHCARE.GOV) -- The high cost of hospitalization and medical care means that lacking health insurance could put you and your family at risk of being one injury or diagnosis away from bankruptcy. Statistics show that lacking health insurance poses a greater risk of financial catastrophe than lacking car insurance or homeowner's insurance.

A new report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shows that most families without health insurance don't have the financial assets to pay the hospital bills they would incur if a family member were to be hospitalized. The new report found that most uninsured families have virtually no savings or investments. In fact, the median financial assets for an uninsured family are twenty dollars.

One of the primary purposes of health insurance is to protect against the risk of incurring unaffordable medical bills. Although people are 50-percent more likely to have car accident than to be hospitalized in a given year, the average bill for a hospital visit is over two and a half times higher than the average loss for a car accident.  And, while the bill for a single hospitalization is about the same as the average loss from a house fire, a person is ten times more likely to be hospitalized than to experience a house fire.

Ultimately, uninsured families are forced to choose between going without care or facing health care bills they are unable to pay. When the uninsured receive care they cannot afford, other payers must absorb the cost. This uncompensated care leads to higher costs for Americans with insurance and their employers.

Having so many uninsured American families is unsafe and unsustainable. Health insurance is crucial to protecting families from unexpected hospital costs. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, families now have more freedom and control over their health care choices. If you are uninsured, some of the important new benefits include new coverage choices:

  • Most young adults can stay on their parent's family plan until they turn 26
  • Most health plans cannot deny coverage to children under age 19 because of pre-existing conditions
  • If you have been uninsured because of a pre-existing condition, you may be eligible to join the more than 18,000 Americans insured through the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. To find out about plans available in your State, visit:

It is not easy for people without health insurance to receive adequate care. Instead, uninsured individuals must make the decision to receive life saving care now, only to be plagued with bankruptcy and financial ruin in the future. However, thanks to the reforms driven by the Affordable Care Act, more families will be able to receive comprehensive coverage and fewer families will have to delay care.

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