Is Your Health Insurance Prepared for a Disaster?

Is Your Health Insurance Prepared for a Disaster?

At some point, you or someone you love may need medical care that your standard health insurance won’t cover, like an expensive surgical procedure or unexpected emergency evacuation to another country. If you’re wondering whether your health insurance is prepared in case of an emergency, the answer could be no. That’s why it’s important to take a close look at your health insurance policy and understand what it will cover and what it won’t. Read this article to learn more about whether your health insurance covers disasters and how you can be prepared if it doesn’t.

Myth #1: Only the Rich Can Afford Health Insurance

Although health insurance is costly, most U.S. citizens do have access to it through their employers or government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. The government’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made health care available to more people by reducing costs through market reforms, while improving quality of coverage. In addition, there are always emergency funds available if you run into problems with your insurance company or when waiting for claims to be paid out.

Myth #2: I Don’t Have Enough Money for Premiums

When it comes to health insurance, you don’t have to spend much money to make sure you’re covered in case of emergencies. Many health insurance companies offer low-cost plans with monthly premiums under $100 and even deductibles as low as $250. If your employer offers a subsidized plan, check out an individual policy. Many employers will continue coverage for up to 18 months if you take time off from work, allowing you some time to figure out how long you want that leave to last. You can also get temporary disability benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, before enrolling in any new health insurance program, be sure to ask your doctor what type of care they specialize in so you can select the right company.

Myth #3: Having a Pre-Existing Condition Makes it Impossible to Get Coverage

While it’s true that those with pre-existing conditions may have to pay more, it’s also true that you can find health insurance coverage regardless of your medical history. In fact, some 75 percent of Americans are covered by employer-sponsored group health plans. (4) Moreover, there are other options available to those who don’t receive health benefits through their employers—namely buying an individual or family plan on an exchange. These plans typically provide wider networks and lower premiums than going without coverage. 
Finally, if you live in one of the many states that opted not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), then there is help available to make health care more affordable. Obamacare has enabled people who earn less than 138% of the federal poverty level ($16,242 per year for individuals and $33,465 per year for a family of four) to qualify for Medicaid in any state where they reside.

Myth #4: I’m Young so I Can Wait Until Later in Life

As we get older, our likelihood of developing major health problems increases. In fact, one in four people have either diabetes or pre-diabetes by age 30 and half of Americans will have some form of heart disease by age 60. By delaying health insurance until you’re older you are essentially betting that nothing bad will happen to you between now and then (which is an unlikely bet to make).

Myth #5: The Affordable Care Act is Universal Healthcare

The Affordable Care Act has been called universal healthcare by politicians, activists, and pundits. It is not. In fact, it’s not even close. So what is it then? It’s another social insurance program—like workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance—meant to provide coverage to those who can’t get coverage through their employer or don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.

Myth #6: There’s No Point in Getting Health Insurance if I Can Still See a Doctor with No Coverage

It’s true that most doctors will continue treating you even if you have no insurance. You’ll likely be able to pay out of pocket or with cash on a sliding scale. But what happens when an emergency strikes and your hospital bills total tens of thousands of dollars, as they often do? The answer is unclear—and it depends on how good your credit is, and whether or not someone with bad credit is even allowed to declare bankruptcy.

Myth #7: If I Sign Up Late, I'll be Forced to Pay an Increased Premium Next Year

Not true. This is another common misunderstanding about how health insurance works—and it's why many people who are uninsured say they're waiting until they get sick to buy health insurance. But that doesn't work like that: If you don't have insurance and you have a major illness or injury, chances are your bills will be sent to collections, and can affect your credit score.

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