Though the uninsured rate has dropped in the US, still many people in the country don’t have any type of health insurance coverage. Despite the Affordable Care Act allowing millions to choose a government-subsidized healthcare plan, there are still many who are not eligible for subsidies and those who even qualify generally not prefer to participate. According to a U.S. Census report, 8.5% of adults between the age group of 19 to 64 years did not have health insurance at any point during the year 2018. The uninsured rate and number of uninsured increased in the last few years as per the Census finding.
Absence of Medical Services
According to the studies revealed by the Transamerica Center for Health Studies that around 62% of Americans have been diagnosed with a chronic health issue like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or due to being overweight or obese. The study also disclosed that only about 41% of uninsured Americans could afford to pay for their routine healthcare expenses. Besides, healthcare providers in the US are not required by law to provide medical services to individuals without having health insurance and only emergency departments are legally bounded to provide healthcare to such people.
Absence of Preventive Care
Hector De La Torre, executive director of Transamerica said that ACA requires many preventive services to be covered by insurance policies without any co-payments. According to him, people without health coverage will prevent themselves from accessing free preventive care, which is quite crucial to spot illness or conditions early before these develop into critical problems. Detecting health problems at an early stage increases the chance of successful treatment and also reduces healthcare treatment costs.
Unfortunately, if people without health insurance meet a serious accident or face a major health issue resulting in emergency care or an expensive treatment plan then it can result in poor credit or even bankruptcy for them. Due to the rising healthcare cost in the US, a car accident, cancer diagnosis or even a fractured leg can cost thousands of dollars for the uninsured, which they will need to pay out-of-pocket. For several years this has resulted in medical debt and it has been the prime cause of personal bankruptcy and even if it doesn’t end in bankruptcy, it takes a severe toll on people’s finances. According to the Journal of General and Internal Medicine research carried out in August 2019, approximately 137.1 million adults reported medical financial hardship in 2018.
No Tax Penalties
The Affordable Care Act tax penalty in 2018 was $695 for adults and $347.50 for children, or 2% of one’s annual income, whichever amount was more. With President Trump signing the tax cuts and job acts, ACA related tax was repealed on Americans, who didn’t purchase health insurance. As of 2020, Americans not having health insurance are not taxed by the government, though individuals and families remain uninsured at their own risk.
The Bottom Line
Americans need to understand that though healthcare is expensive even with health insurance but those who don’t have health insurance coverage will be at a greater disadvantage. The massive weight of medical bills and the inability to seek medical treatment due to exorbitant price are the two big reasons which should encourage people to buy health insurance coverage.