Despite a decline in the number of Americans without health insurance, many individuals still lack even the most basic protection. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was passed, now gives millions of people the option of a government-funded healthcare plan. However, many customers do not qualify for subsidies, and many of those who do have opted out.
According to a survey by the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 31.6 million persons (of all ages) or 9.7 percent did not have health insurance in the first half of 2020. According to survey results, the number of uninsured persons and the uninsured rate both reduced from 2019 (10.3 percent or 33.2 million people of all ages), although the difference was negligible.
Medical Services Are Not Available
Contrary to common misconception, medical professionals are not obligated by law to treat patients without insurance. Only emergency rooms are required by law to provide treatment.
Six in ten Americans, according to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, have a chronic health condition, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or being overweight or obese.
According to a research by the Transamerica Institute, 66 percent of those without insurance had a chronic condition. 3 Citizens with chronic illnesses and mental health problems account for 90% of the $3.8 trillion in yearly healthcare spending in the country.
Hector De La Torre, executive director of Transamerica, tells Investopedia that the ACA mandates that certain preventative procedures be covered by insurance plans without a charge. The lack of health insurance, he adds, “may hinder patients from getting free preventative treatment.”
According to De La Torre, preventive treatment is essential to identifying disease or illnesses early on before they may intensify into serious issues. Early detection of health issues enhances the likelihood of effective treatment and lowers treatment costs.
If you don’t have health insurance, a catastrophic accident or health problem that need urgent attention and/or a costly treatment plan might damage your credit or possibly cause you to file for bankruptcy.
Dylan Roby, assistant professor of health services management at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, says that a cancer diagnosis, automobile accident, or even a broken limb might result in thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses.
And as a consequence, according to De La Torre, medical debt has been the No. 1 reason for personal bankruptcy for a number of years.
5 Medical debt harms customers even when it doesn’t result in bankruptcy.
A recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 17.8% of people had medical debt that was in collections as of June 2020.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, people who have a lot of medical debt are less likely to be able to save money and are more likely to experience the kind of financial stress that makes them neglect basics and turn to borrowing money.
The End of Tax Penalties
The ACA tax penalty in 2018 was $695 for individuals and $347.50 for kids, or 2% of one’s yearly income, whichever was higher. The Penalty Cuts and Jobs Act, which former president Donald J. Trump signed on December 22, 2017, abolished the ACA-related tax on Americans who choose not to buy health insurance.
As of 2019, the federal government does not impose taxes on citizens who lack health insurance.
Families and individuals who opt out of health insurance do so at their own peril.
The cost of healthcare is high, even with insurance. The disadvantage for people without insurance, however, will be far higher. Two major reasons to gain coverage are the inability to receive treatment for medical illnesses and the crippling cost of medical expenses.