“Nobody likes insurance companies, especially health insurance companies.”
P. J. O’Rourke
Advantages & Disadvantages of Health Insurance
Health insurance is an insurance that protects people from the high costs that can be related to all sorts of medical treatment.
Even though health insurance is essential to make high-quality healthcare affordable for the general public, there are still many countries all over the world that lack proper health insurance systems.
In this article, the pros and cons of health insurance are examined in detail.
Advantages of Health Insurance
- You will be covered in case of serious health issues
- Health insurance can give you a feeling of safety
- You can plan your future in a more profound manner
- You don’t need to worry about your children
- May be especially beneficial if you are part of a risk group
- Higher average life expectancy for people with health insurance
- You may not be able to pay for medical treatment without health insurance
- Tax-deductible in some countries
- Rather affordable when you are young
- Protection of your wealth
- Employers may cover part of the costs
- Medical checkups can detect issues early on
- People may underestimate medical costs
- Lower risk for mental issues
- Positive social effects
You will be covered in case of serious health issues
One crucial advantage of health insurance is that you will be covered in case of emergency.
For instance, if you suffer from serious health issues of any sort, you will often need surgery and you might have to stay in hospital for an extensive period of time after that.
Even when you are allowed to leave hospital, you might still need some rehab, which can also take several weeks or even months to complete.
And even after all this is over, you might still not be able to work full-time anymore due to consequential health issues.
For all those reasons, it is quite important to have good health insurance since you will be covered in those cases.
Many people who are not covered by proper health insurance will either have to take huge amounts of debt to finance all of this or will not be able to afford proper medical treatment and may suffer from serious consequential health problems.
Therefore, having good health insurance is crucial in order to avoid the enormous costs in case of extensive medical treatment will be necessary.
Health insurance can give you a feeling of safety
Since you know that you are covered in case you experience serious health issues, you will also get a great feeling of safety.
If you are not covered, you might worry every day since you know that you would be in serious trouble in case extensive medical treatment would be necessary.
Hence, even though your risk of getting seriously injured or sick might be rather limited, you may want to get proper health insurance to feel safe and comfortable.
This may also give you a quite strong boost of your quality of life since you know you and your family will be covered in case of emergency and you do not have to deal with the enormous costs that can occur due to medical treatment in such a case.
You can plan your future in a more profound manner
If you have proper health insurance, you will also be able to plan your future in a safer and more profound manner.
For instance, imagine that you currently lack proper health insurance and you know you will have huge amounts of money by yourself in case of emergency.
If this is the case, you will likely not be sure how much money you should set aside for such medical emergencies and you might not know whether you could afford to buy a house right now or not due to this high level of insecurity.
However, if you have proper health insurance, it is much easier to plan your future since you know you are covered in case serious medical treatment is necessary and you can therefore make big investment decisions easier since you know that you do not have to save too much money for medical purposes.
Consequently, you can plan your future with a much better feeling if you got proper health insurance.
You don’t need to worry about your children
The decision of whether or not to get health insurance may not only affect you, but it may also have a significant impact on your children.
Your children will not know too much about health insurance and they will rely on you to make profound decisions in this regard.
Therefore, if you miss the opportunity to get proper health insurance for you and your children, chances are that you will run out of money for serious medical treatment and your children may suffer from severe secondary damage.
Thus, it is crucial to get health insurance for your whole family so that you are all covered in case serious medical treatment becomes necessary and not a single family member is left behind.
May be especially beneficial if you are part of a risk group
Medical insurance makes sense for all of us since it can cover us in case we need proper medical treatment, which can cost a fortune in many Western countries in case surgeries or other expensive treatments are necessary.
Yet, getting health insurance makes even more sense in case you are part of a certain risk group and the chances for you to suffer from serious health issues in the future will be much higher than average.
Thus, if you are one of those people who already suffered from serious health problems in the past, you should definitely get insurance quotes sooner than later in order to be covered in case of emergency.
Higher average life expectancy for people with health insurance
In general, people who are covered by health insurance often also have a significantly higher life expectancy compared to people who lack such insurance.
This is quite logical since if you are not able to pay for expensive surgeries or other important medical treatment, the chances to die from your health condition will be much higher.
Moreover, without proper health insurance, you might also not be able to attend specialists which are usually much better compared to general practitioners when it comes to curing specific health problems.
Hence, in general, getting proper health insurance will not only cover you against the enormous costs of medical treatment in case of severe health issues, but it will also increase your overall life expectancy.
You may not be able to pay for medical treatment without health insurance
Even if you get a mortgage on your house or lend money from your family and friends, you might still not be able to afford complex surgeries since they can cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars and many people will never be financially able to get this kind of treatment.
Thus, if you are not among the top earners of your country, chances are that you will not be able to afford medical treatment in cases of emergency and you will have to live with the consequences, which can include serious secondary damage and other unpleasant outcomes.
Tax-deductible in some countries
Another upside of health insurance is that it is tax-deductible in many countries all over the world.
This means that you will get part of your money that you spent on health insurance back from the state when you make your tax declaration.
Yet, whether this is possible or not significantly depends on the country you live in.
While some countries are quite generous regarding the deductibility of health insurance for tax purposes since they want you to get covered as good as possible, other countries may not give you any tax benefits at all and you should contact your local municipality or do some research on the internet regarding how your country treats expenses related to health insurance for tax purposes.
Rather affordable when you are young
Especially if you are quite young, health insurance premiums are usually rather low since you risk to get sick will be lower as well.
However, those premiums will increase significantly over time and if you refrain from getting health insurance at a young age, you might have to pay quite high premiums once you get insured at a later age.
Therefore, it makes quite a lot of sense to get proper health insurance from an early age so that you do not have to suffer from too high health insurance premiums in the future.
Protection of your wealth
You might think that if you are a wealthy person, there may be no need for getting health insurance since you can afford medical treatment even without having such insurance.
However, the reality is that some surgeries can be so costly that you might have to spend your whole wealth for them and you might end up in poverty due to that.
Therefore, if you are wealthy but you are still not a multi-millionaire, make sure to get proper health insurance so that you don’t have to spend a big fraction of your wealth for medical treatment in case of emergency.
Employers may cover part of the costs
Some companies may even support your health insurance plans by paying a certain fraction of it.
This also depends on the country you live in and on the quality of the company you are working for.
If you can get your employer to pay a significant fraction of your health insurance, it becomes even more attractive for you to get good health insurance since you will only have to pay part of the expenses but you will get all the benefits since you get full coverage in case of serious medical treatment will be necessary.
Thus, if you can, choose an employer that will provide you with those benefits.
Medical checkups can detect issues early on
Many health insurance companies also provide you with medical checkups on a regular basis so that risk factors for serious health problems can be detected early on and your risk to suffer from those health issues in the future might be lower.
Therefore, due to those checkups, your overall life expectancy as well as your quality of life may further increase since you will have a better feeling that you did everything you could to prevent serious health conditions in the future.
People may underestimate medical costs
Let’s be honest. Many people are quite helpless when it comes to insurances of various sorts.
This also includes education regarding proper health insurance.
We never learn in school how important it is to get health insurance and therefore, many people do not bother with this topic once they turn into grownups since they think it is not important.
This lack of education regarding insurance can lead to serious adverse outcomes and people often vastly underestimate the costs that they have to bear in case of extensive medical treatment become necessary.
Consequently, in order to protect people from themselves and from the enormous costs related to medical treatment that are often underestimated by people, health insurance is a great way to solve this issue since people do not have to estimate treatment costs anymore since they are covered in case of emergency.
Lower risk for mental issues
Since you do not have to worry too much about your future anymore since you are covered by health insurance in case you need medical treatment, your overall stress level might be lower and your chances to suffer from mental issues might therefore be lower as well.
Yet, even if you will suffer from some sort of mental problem in the future, you will be able to get proper treatment and the chances to cure those issues will increase significantly.
Therefore, you will not only be covered in case of physical health issues, but also in case of mental problems with most health insurance schemes out there.
Positive social effects
Since the individual is better covered against medical emergencies, chances are that proper health insurance will also have positive social effects since people will worry less and also the level of social tensions may be lower.
Thus, proper health insurance on a large scale may not only benefit the individual, but also our society in general.
Disadvantages of Having Health Insurance
- Can be costly
- Not all insurance companies may accept you
- May be more expensive if you have pre-existing conditions
- Access to proper health insurance may be limited
- Some insurance companies exclude important medical treatment
- Premiums can increase once you get older
- Some insurance companies may not accept you
- Bureaucratic work
- May tempt you to go to the doctor too often
- Crowded doctor’s offices
- You may still have to pay a fraction of the overall costs
Can be costly
Apart from the numerous important advantages of health insurance, there are also some problems related to it.
One downside of health insurance is that it can be quite costly. In some countries, a significant fraction of the overall monthly income has to be spent to get high-quality health insurance.
Especially for people who work in low-income jobs, this might be a serious problem since they often need every dollar to cover their basic expenses and may not be able to afford proper health insurance due to that.
Not all insurance companies may accept you
Some insurance companies may also be much pickier than others.
For instance, some health insurance companies may not accept you if you have certain pre-existing conditions since they feel that your risk to suffer from serious health conditions in the future might be too high.
Therefore, in case you have serious pre-existing health problems, you might have to search for a long time until you find an insurance company that is willing to take you on.
May be more expensive if you have pre-existing conditions
Even if you find a health insurance company which is willing to cover you, the insurance premium will be quite high since those premiums often directly depend on the individual risk profile and if you have pre-existing conditions, your risk profile will prevent you to get good insurance quotes since your risk for future health problems will be significantly higher compared to the average person.
Therefore, you might also not be able to afford health insurance if you have serious pre-existing health conditions.
Access to proper health insurance may be limited
In some countries, especially in poor developing countries, access to proper health insurance might also be rather limited and many people may not find insurance companies that provide good health insurance options for them.
Thus, depending on the geographic region, it might also be difficult for people to find companies that offer proper health insurance.
Some insurance companies exclude important medical treatment
In some cases, health insurance companies may even exclude important and costly medical treatment.
There might be significant differences in the scope of services of health insurance companies and you should inform yourself about different health insurance companies and options in order to avoid plans that exclude those important medical treatments in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Premiums can increase once you get older
Some companies also significantly increase their insurance premiums once you get older since also your risk for serious health conditions increases.
Therefore, when it comes to choosing a health insurance company, make sure to choose one that is known for only moderate insurance premium increases in order to protect yourself from significant additional costs in the future.
Some insurance companies may not accept you
In many countries, insurance companies are free whom they want to insure and who will not be eligible for insurance.
Thus, some insurance companies may not cover you and you should not get disappointed if this happens.
Just make sure to stay motivated and find another insurance company instead in case that happens.
Having proper health insurance also implies some bureaucratic work.
Over the course of the year, you might have to provide some information about yourself and whether your overall personal circumstances might have changed.
However, this is usually done in a few minutes and you will develop a certain routine over time to deal with this kind of bureaucratic work.
May tempt you to go to the doctor too often
Another disadvantage of health insurance is that you might be tempted to go to the doctor too often.
For instance, while you will only attend doctor’s office when you suffer from serious health issues in case you are not insured, you may attend your doctor for every little thing in case you have proper insurance since it will not cost you too much.
Thus, you might waste your time and the time of the doctor for several minor issues.
Crowded doctor’s offices
Since people may be more eager to attend the doctor’s office in case they have proper health insurance, good health coverage may also result in quite crowded doctor’s offices.
In turn, the spread of diseases in those offices may be facilitated and doctors may suffer from too much work and may no longer be able to focus on serious health issues since they have to treat too many minor issues.
You may still have to pay a fraction of the overall costs
Even in case you have health insurance in place, there might still be some costs that you have to pay by yourself.
However, those costs are rather low and in case of emergency, most of the high costs for surgeries and other necessary measures will be covered by your health insurance.
Therefore, even though you might have to bear some costs, health insurance still makes a lot of sense to protect you from high costs related to the treatment of serious health issues.
Top 10 Health Insurance Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Health Insurance Pros
|Health Insurance Cons
|Better protection against large financial burden
|Health insurance can be expensive
|Higher life expectancy
|Some people may not be able to afford it
|Protection of your wealth
|Not all insurance companies may accept you
|Higher overall life expectancy
|Hard to get in with pre-existing conditions
|Better planning for your future possible
|May get even more expensive over time
|Early detection of serious health issues
|Crowded doctor’s office
|Employer may cover part of the costs
|Tax advantages in some countries
|May be difficult to insure yourself in some regions
|You may still have to pay part of the costs
Should You Get Health Insurance?
As we can see from the previous argumentation, having proper health insurance has many important advantages and those pros outweigh the cons of health insurance in my opinion.
Hence, make sure to get proper health insurance as soon as possible.
However, also make sure to compare prices and plans in order to get the best insurance for a reasonable price.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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