by Charlotte Kaye, Health Policy Fellow
If you had asked me about my health insurance a year ago, I would have shrugged – and that would have been the depth and breadth of the conversation. I was certainly privileged in that my mom provided me health insurance through her employer; but I did not know anything beyond the basic fact that I could see a doctor and pay a small fee (a copay).
As a young person just entering the real world, I realize I am not alone in trying to understand the value of insurance; what it means to be insured and the hurdles of being uninsured. When I talk to my friends now about what we do at CCHI, the details of insurance are as foreign to most of them as palm pilots or videocassettes. It does not cross our minds until something literally hits us and we are sent to the hospital. Now that Obamacare asks every American to think a little more in depth about our personal relationship to health insurance, it is coming to light that many people, and rightly so, want to understand the value of insurance before investing in it.
Buying health insurance can seem daunting and burdensome especially when it feels like you are as healthy as can be. But, health insurance is peace of mind. It’s like always having an umbrella in the backseat of your car. Most of the time, you won’t need that umbrella, but when those rainy days hit, you will be thankful that you have it.
A healthy 27 year old making approximately $30,000 a year can spend approximately $132 a month on a Silver Plan (a comprehensive health plan), and pay five times less than an uninsured patient if they end up in the hospital. 41% of uninsured patients in the U.S. had trouble paying their medical bills in 2012. 50% of all debt is from medical debt. Not only does insurance help keep you out of medical debt, but it also provides preventative care to keep you healthy and out of the hospital. Coloradans should not only get the care they need when they need it, but also understand their insurance and why it is important.