Everyone is told they need health insurance, but this coverage can be expensive. Is it possible to live without health insurance? Is it more financially responsible to skip health insurance altogether?
As of 2019, health care is no longer a federal requirement. You will not face fines by not carrying health insurance. This isn't recommended, however, and for good reason. The average cost of health insurance for a single person in the United States is around $440 a year (about $36.66 a month) while the average cost for an American family is around $1,168 a year (about $97.33 a month). While this may seem expensive, it's important to compare the premiums of health insurance.
The True Cost Of Healthcare
The reason health insurance is encouraged is due to the expensive nature of healthcare services. A single hospital stay can cost an average of $15,734. Not many people have this much money saved up. While you can schedule payments for expensive bills such as this, it isn't always feasible — especially when added to other everyday costs such as medications, check-ups, doctor visits, etc. Here is the average cost of just a few common healthcare items and services without insurance:
- Ambulance: $400-$1,200
- Doctor visit: $300-$600
- Urgent care visit: $100-$200
- Baby wellness visits: $95 ($668 for all seven recommended visits)
- Pediatric immunizations: $620
- Having a baby: $10,808
- Prenatal care: $2,000
- Specialty care nursery (for premature births and other complications): $144,692
- Physical therapy: $75-$150 per session
- Heart valve replacement surgery: $170,000
- Spinal fusion surgery: $35,000
Keep in mind that there are other factors to these prices beside insurance. Birth complications, for example, will raise the cost of having a baby. Different surgeries also have varying costs.
Say a single person gets into a car wreck and needs emergency services. They're transported by ambulance to a hospital, where they're rushed into immediate spinal fusion surgery. Once out of surgery, they not only need to stay in the hospital for a few days to recover, but they will also need prescription medication and physical therapy. On the low side, the victim could be facing a bill of at least $35,475 on top of recovering physically and emotionally from the incident. Unfortunately, these prices only seem to be growing.
Health insurance won't always cover the entire bill, but it can take a large weight off your shoulders. That's why it's worth considering.
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