“People don’t trust private health insurance companies for all the right reasons.”
Bernie Sanders, Politician
Lack of Health Insurance: Causes, Effects & Solutions
Health insurance can be defined as insurance that covers the medical expenses of a person in case of necessary medical treatment. In some countries, there is mandatory health insurance in place that aims to cover all people, independent of their social status.
However, there are many countries that lack mandatory health insurance. A lack of health insurance can lead to serious issues for a large number of people worldwide.
In this article, the importance, causes, effects and solutions regarding health insurance and also regarding a lack of health insurance are examined.
Why is Health Insurance important?
- Security in case of injury or disease
- Protection from high costs
- Social responsibility
- Higher life expectancy
- Lower risk for consequential health issues
- Better access to medical care
- Protection from financial burden for families
- Prevent small health issues to turn into serious health conditions
Security in case of injury or disease
Health insurance is quite important since it provides people security in case of severe health conditions. People with health insurance do not have to worry about the adverse consequences a lack of health insurance might have for them.
Moreover, they can also be sure that their children can get access to proper medical treatment in case they need it. Therefore, health insurance increases the overall security level and also reliefs people from the feeling of insecurity.
Protection from high costs
Medical treatment, especially when it comes to hospital stays, can be quite costly. A single day of hospital treatment can be 1,000 USD or more. Surgeries may even cost up to 100,000 USD or more, depending on the case and complexity. In order to be able to avoid these enormous costs, it is crucial to have proper health insurance to get people covered in case of severe health issues.
Otherwise, they would not be able to afford medical treatment and may suffer from severe consequential health issues. Moreover, even if people may be able to afford medical treatment, they often would have to raise a credit to do so, which would lead to a huge financial burden in the future.
Health insurance should also be important from a social perspective. We should feel obliged to cover all persons with health insurance since it should be our social responsibility to protect our community members from the adverse effects of a lack of health insurance.
Higher life expectancy
Proper health insurance also leads to a higher life expectancy for people. Especially when people become older, the risk for serious health conditions increases.
Thus, if people are not covered by health insurance, they may not able to afford the necessary medical treatment and may die due to insufficient treatment of the disease.
Therefore, in order to have a high life expectancy, health insurance is a crucial tool since access to proper medical treatment is ensured.
Lower risk for consequential health issues
Consequential health issues are a significant problem that is caused by improper medical treatment. If people have health conditions that are not properly treated or not even treated at all, these people are at risk to suffer from health issues in the future. Consequential health issues can lead to serious health conditions and even to death in some cases.
Better access to medical care
People who are insured have better access to medical care. They often just have to attend a doctor or a hospital to get treatment. If you do not have health insurance, it will be hard for you to find a doctor who is willing to treat you, especially if you do not have the financial ability to pay for the treatment yourself. Thus, you might not get treatment at all and may suffer from serious health issues.
Protection from financial burden for families
Not only you are at risk for financial issues due to a lack of health insurance, but also your family may suffer. If you get a serious health condition, the treatment costs might be enormous.
In order to afford the necessary treatment, you may often take a credit line. However, this credit will burden your whole family, since this money will be missing in the future for other expenses.
Prevent small health issues to turn into serious health conditions
There are many health issues that are not serious if you treat them properly. However, through the absence of medical treatment, small health issues can turn into serious health conditions.
These serious health conditions may in turn lead to several other issues, including financial distress due to high treatment costs. Therefore, a lack of health insurance may turn small health issues into serious health conditions.
Causes for a Lack of Health Insurance
- Unaffordable for some people
- No mandatory health insurance in some countries
- Lack of education
- Influence of family members
- Underestimation of treatment costs
- Illegal residence
Homelessness might be a cause of why some people are not covered through health insurance. If you are homeless, you have no permanent residential address and will not be able to have health insurance since there is simply no way of communication between you and your insurance company.
Moreover, many insurances might not be willing to insure you, since you are at greater risk for health issues if you are homeless.
Unaffordable for some people
Some people may also not be able to financially afford health insurance. This is especially true for people working in low-paid jobs. They often just have enough money to buy basic things and to pay their rent.
There might just not be enough money left for them to get proper health insurance and they therefore refrain from getting health insurance.
Unemployment may be another cause of a lack of health insurance. If people become unemployed, they often have not enough money to sustain their health insurance coverage.
This is especially true in countries where there is no mandatory health insurance. People will often lose their health insurance when they become unemployed and may be at great risk in case of serious health issues.
No mandatory health insurance in some countries
In many countries worldwide, there is no mandatory health insurance. Therefore, many people just do not have health insurance since they do not want to spend money on health coverage.
Moreover, many people are also not able to afford proper health insurance and have to rely on their family and friends in case they get sick to get financial support for medical treatment.
Some people also ignore the issues related to a lack of health insurance. People often think that since they have never experienced serious health issues before, this positive health streak will also continue in the future.
Unfortunately, the probability of health issues increases when people become older. Therefore, many people will encounter serious problems due to a lack of health insurance because they ignored the necessity to get health insurance in time.
Lack of education
Many people worldwide only have a low level of education and will not be able to properly access the true importance of proper health insurance.
These people might think that they do not need health insurance and that they can treat all diseases at home without medical support.
However, this deceptive thinking might lead to serious problems if these people suffer from severe health conditions.
Influence of family members
Some parents may even tell their children to refrain from getting proper health insurance since they did the same. These parents often do not want to hurt their children, but just do not know better yet.
They might never have experienced severe health issues and therefore may think that health insurance is redundant and just a waste of money.
Thus, if you have parents thinking this way, you might end up without proper health insurance and may have to suffer from the related adverse effects.
Underestimation of treatment costs
Many people also underestimate how costly medical treatment can really be. Especially for longer hospital stays and surgeries, people often have to pay a fortune.
Many people will not be able to afford this kind of treatment without health insurance and may therefore suffer from serious consequential health issues or even death.
People who do not have an official permit to live in a country also do not have access to health insurance. These people have to treat their health issues themselves which may lead to serious consequential health effects in the future.
Effects of a Lack of Health Insurance
- High costs in case of medical treatment
- Large financial burden for families
- Lack of treatment may lead to serious consequential health issues
- Mental issues
- Lower life expectancy
- Avoidance of medical treatment for less serious health issues
High costs in case of medical treatment
Medical treatment can be quite expensive, especially when you have to stay in a hospital and or need surgeries. Thus, in case you do not have health insurance, you will have to pay these high costs by yourself.
Many people will not be able to afford this kind of treatment and will likely refrain from medical treatment because. This behavior can lead to several issues, including possible consequential health damage or even a higher probability of death.
Large financial burden for families
The absence of proper health insurance may also lead to a huge financial burden for your family. If you get severe health issues and are not insured and also not able to afford the treatment, your family might pay for your medical treatment. Depending on the treatment costs, this could mean a huge financial burden.
Moreover, if you raised money for your surgery by taking a credit line, you will suffer from severe financial constraints in the future when you have to pay back this debt which in turn will lead to financial constraints for your family as well.
Lack of treatment may lead to serious consequential health issues
Consequential damages are a significant part of the total number of health issues. If there is no proper medical treatment, diseases or injuries might not entirely heal and may cause severe health issues in the future.
The absence of health insurance makes it more likely that those consequential issues occur since people may be more reluctant to get medical treatment since they have to pay the full bill by themselves.
A lack of health insurance also leads to a significant level of insecurity for many people. People are usually quite aware of what it means to be without health insurance and fear the adverse possible future consequences. Therefore, their overall well-being might be lowered due to worries because of a lack of health insurance.
Some people might worry that much that their mental health will be eventually damaged. People may develop mental issues and might in turn suffer from consequential health conditions which may even exacerbate the problem due to a lack of medical insurance.
Lower life expectancy
People who do not have a proper health insurance often also suffer from lower life expectancy. Especially when people get older, they are more likely to suffer from serious health issues. In case these people lack health insurance, they might not be able to financially afford treatment and therefore may die due to that.
This is especially true when it comes to surgeries, which are often quite expensive and therefore often unaffordable for people without proper health coverage.
Avoidance of medical treatment for less serious health issues
Some people may also refrain from medical treatment if they have health issues that they consider less important in order to save money. However, these issues may transpose in much more severe diseases if they are not treated appropriately. Therefore, a lack of health insurance may also lead to bad decisions regarding the necessity of medical treatment.
If you want to survive certain diseases, there is no way around proper medical treatment. This may include heart conditions or other serious health issues. If you do not get proper treatment due to a lack of health insurance, your chances to die are quite high from these severe health conditions.
Solutions for a Lack in Health Insurance
- Mandatory health insurance
- Financial subsidies for poor people
- Coverage for homeless persons
- Coverage for unemployed people
- Raise awareness on this topic
- Make health insurance cheaper
- Show people the treatment costs for serious health conditions
- Convince family and friends
Mandatory health insurance
One effective measure against a lack of health insurance is to introduce mandatory health insurance for every citizen. By doing so, people have no choice whether they should get insurance or not. Thus, people could be prevented from foolish decisions against health insurance and their protection level may therefore be increased.
Many people lack a sense of long-term consequences and vastly underestimate the positive effects health insurance provides for them. Thus, by introducing mandatory health insurance that is supervised by the government, the problem of a lack of health insurance could be mitigated.
Financial subsidies for poor people
Another measure for a higher ratio of people covered by health insurance would be to offer financial incentives and support for health insurance.
By doing so, governments could increase the incentive for people to get health insurance and the issue of a lack of health insurance and the related adverse effects could be lowered.
Coverage for homeless persons
It is important to also cover homeless people. Even though these people will not be able to pay health insurance premiums, we still have the responsibility as a society to provide for these homeless people in order to ensure sufficient health support in case they need it.
In order to cover homeless people with health insurance, governments may introduce a law that assures that everyone gets medical treatment whenever necessary, independent of his circumstances and independent of if he has a permanent residential address or not.
Coverage for unemployed people
Similar to the coverage of homeless people, there should also be a law in place that ensures medical assistance for unemployed people. If people become unemployed and are not able to afford health insurance anymore, they are at great risk of lacking sufficient medical treatment if they suffer from health conditions. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure medical support for these kinds of people who get unemployed.
Raise awareness on this topic
For many people, the importance of proper health insurance has still not become obvious enough. Many people still believe that they do not need health insurance since they never suffered from severe health conditions and think this positive health streak will continue forever.
However, these people will also most likely come to a point where they will rely on medical treatment in order to avoid consequential health issues or even to avoid death.
Therefore, in order to get as many people covered as possible, it is crucial that we raise the awareness regarding the importance of health insurance so that the pressure on politicians increases to make reformations and to assure mandatory health insurance for everyone.
Make health insurance cheaper
Another solution to a lack of health insurance is to make it more affordable. Especially people who are working in low-paid jobs are often not able or also not willing to spend large amounts of money on health insurance. Therefore, they may refrain from doing so and rather spend their money to increase their living standard.
For those people, lowering the insurance premiums would give them a higher incentive to get health insurance. For instance, this could come in the form of government subsidies for certain income levels.
Show people the treatment costs for serious health conditions
We should also make people more aware of the actual treatment costs when it comes to surgeries or hospital stays. Showing people that some surgeries may cost them 100,000 USD or more, many people who have previously refrained from getting health insurance may likely change their opinion on this topic when they recognize the amounts of money they may likely have to spend in case of serious health conditions.
Education is key when it comes to coverage with health insurance. The higher the education level, the more likely people are able to recognize the importance of health insurance. In contrast, people with low levels of education are likely underestimating the costs of medical treatment which may lead these people to renounce from getting health insurance.
Therefore, it is crucial to educate people about the importance of health insurance. This education is necessary for all age groups since studies have shown people of all ages lack the ability to really recognize the importance of proper health insurance.
Convince family and friends
It is also crucial to convince your family and friends about the importance of health insurance. Some family members or friends may not recognize the importance of health insurance. Thus, they may refrain from getting health insurance coverage.
It may also be favorable to get coverage from eco-friendly insurance companies instead of conventional ones in order to improve your ecological footprint even further.
As we have seen in the previous analysis, a lack of health insurance can lead to severe adverse effects of several sorts, which includes health issues but also financial problems.
Therefore, whenever you meet a person who does not want to get proper health insurance, try to convince him for his or her own good!
Although many people worldwide got aware of the importance of proper health insurance, a high number of people still refrain from health insurance coverage in order to save the money or due to the fact that they are simply not eligible for health insurance.
However, the absence of health insurance has many severe adverse effects, which have the potential to destroy the lives of people who are not covered by health insurance.
Therefore, it is crucial to take measures against this issue. It is our social responsibility to cover as many people as possible with health insurance.
Governments have to take action and change laws in order to assure medical assistance for everyone how urgently needs it.
By doing so, we can come to a point where no one has to fear the absence of medical treatment which would drastically improve the quality of life for many people.
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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