Healthcare in the US: What You Should Know
By Space Coast Daily // October 20, 2020
Healthcare, like death and taxes, is unavoidable. Sooner or later, we all succumb to illness, which typically leaves us with no choice other than to seek medical help.
This is, however, a very controversial and heavily debated subject in the US. The states’ wellness program is insanely expensive and has an incredibly complicated structure making it challenging to navigate. Unfortunately, that’s not the end of it. When compared to other developed nations, public healthcare in the USA is by far the worst.
Should you become severely ill without healthcare insurance in the states, you may find yourself in a spot of trouble. Although the US does offer a public wellness program, rising costs and declining quality of care doesn’t make this a viable option. The number of uninsured Americans also doesn’t help the situation.
Keeping this in mind, here are some of the cold, hard facts about health maintenance in the US.
The Cost of Healthcare in the US
US citizens annually spend more than double the amount per person than other developed nations such as France, the UK, and Australia. Likewise, employers in the states pay more for medical insurance per capita. The average expense on medical bills to any adult residing in the USA today is more than $11,000 per year.
Between 1980 and 2018, the cost of medical maintenance shot up by 290 percent. Furthermore, the US is rated to be the country that spends the highest percentage of its GDP (16.9 percent) toward health protection. Ranked second, Switzerland spends 4.7% less.
The State Doesn’t Cover You
Even though the Obama administration worked toward resolving the problem, and Obamacare was introduced, the states, unlike most developed nations, still don’t have universal health coverage. Paying out of pocket is also not an option. In some cases, this can potentially bankrupt you.
Therefore, US citizens are expected to either purchase private medical insurance, obtain it through their workplace, or, if you’re a student, through your university.
What Happens If You Can’t Afford Health Insurance?
Although there are free clinics in the states, the demand far outweighs the supply, and the problem isn’t getting smaller. Between 2017 and 2018, the number of uninsured adult Americans rose by approximately half a million. This factor is one of the primary contributors to the country’s high out-of-pocket spending.
Low-income and unemployed adults make up the majority of uninsured people. This puts them at a higher risk of developing severe health conditions, typically avoidable with proper preventive care. Therefore, these folks either choose not to get the necessary healthcare or end up in debt facing unaffordable medical bills.
Healthcare in the US is based on a cost-sharing system, and premiums and deductibles vary significantly between the different health plans. Apart from your monthly premium, you’re also responsible for paying a deductible, should you need medical coverage. This is the out-of-pocket amount that you need to pay before your insurance kicks in.
Thus, the expense is divided between yourself and your insurance. On top of this, you may also be liable to pay a small fee every time you visit your physician, referred to as a co-payment. This amount tends to be lower with more expensive health insurance.
It’s also important to note that even comprehensive protection may not cover everything. Therefore, it’s crucial to know what your insurance includes. Failure to do this may result in some nasty unforeseen bills arriving at your door.
Medical Protection Plans Aren’t Created Equally
Familiarizing yourself with the available health insurance options is essential. Among others, eye and dental care are typically excluded from most plans and have to be added to your policy at an additional cost.
Only you know which benefits you need to ensure that you and your family are adequately covered. Therefore, it’s vital to research and choose a tailored plan to fit your unique situation. Just remember, more often than not, you’ll have to modify the protection plan by adding on the extras that you may need.
The Bottom Line
The US has an outstanding private health care system. Understanding it, though, may prove to be quite a challenge. Yet, it’s crucial to have proper medical insurance to benefit from this system and avoid landing yourself in debt.
Although having a healthcare plan isn’t cheap, it’s bound to be a lot less expensive than what it would be if you had to cover all of the costs out-of-pocket. Remember, health maintenance isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.