UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 18, 2023 | 3 MIN READ
Health insurance is one of the most debated and polarizing issues in the U.S. Healthcare costs in the U.S. tend to be higher than in most other places, leading to many uninsured Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), currently, of the 332 million people in America, about 31 million people don’t have health insurance.
Why Are So Many Americans Without Health Insurance?
The number one reason given by Americans for not having health insurance coverage is that the costs are too high. With the inflation of the economy, reduced insurance options through employer-sponsored coverage, increasing health insurance premiums, and reduced public health programs, it’s no wonder why so many uninsured people live in America.
With the Coronavirus pandemic, the economy took a great hit. After the months-long shutdown of businesses serving the public, many companies have either gone out of business or reduced the number of employees to remain in business. This reduction also impacted the ability of employers to provide health insurance coverage. Many employees can’t afford health care premiums without the employer’s subsidy to help cover the costs.
Rising health care premiums
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in 2021, healthcare costs rose by $4.3 trillion dollars. After the Coronavirus Pandemic, the prediction is that national health expenditures will rise to $6.8 trillion dollars by the year 2030. Some of the increases are due to medical providers being paid by health insurance providers per service. Paying for the number of tests and procedures encourages excessive visits and testing to increase the income of medical providers. Drug companies, hospitals, and medical providers are driving their prices with no one opposing them.
Reduced public health programs
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) performs annual reviews to measure income levels. Federal poverty levels determine eligibility for certain public health programs, including savings on Affordable Care Act health insurance and Medicaid and CHIP coverage.
The 2022 federal poverty level (FPL) income numbers are part of determining eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 2021 numbers were slightly lower than 2022.
Can I be penalized for not having health insurance?
From 2014 to 2018, the federal government applied fines to the federal taxes of Americans who did not have a qualifying health insurance policy. The penalties ended in 2019.
However, certain states still have state tax penalties for residents that don’t have qualifying health insurance policies. These states include California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont, and the District of Columbia. All except Vermont charge up to 2.5% of your income as a penalty on the annual state tax returns.
What are the different types of health insurance coverage available?
Several health insurance policies are available to Americans depending on their employment status, income status, and eligibility requirements. It also depends on the time of year you’re trying to get health insurance coverage. There are employer-group health insurance programs, private health insurance policies, and public health care policies.
Employer-group health insurance
Many employers use the incentive of health insurance to hire qualified employees. Full-time employees can enroll in health insurance, with the employer paying half or even all of the premiums in a group-based insurance plan.
Private health insurance
Private health insurance is when you purchase a health insurance policy from a private health insurance provider and pay all the premiums out-of-pocket.
Public health care insurance
Public health care insurance includes policies with Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s health insurance program (CHIP), and the policies under the Affordable Care Act. You must meet the eligibility requirements to get assistance through these programs.
Medicare is only for people aged 65 and older and with certain disabilities. Medicaid coverage and CHIP are mainly for low-income individuals and families. If your income exceeds the poverty level limits, you can receive subsidies for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
Is there a time limit to purchasing health insurance?
Yes, and the dates vary depending on which type of health insurance coverage you’re purchasing. Most states have the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period from November 1 to January 15. The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is from October 15 to December 7. It’s best to check online in your state when open enrollment is available.
There are some exceptions to purchasing health insurance coverage outside the Open Enrollment Period. These exceptions are life-changing events, such as getting married or divorced, having a baby, losing a job, etc.
What happens if I don’t have health insurance in America?
If you don’t have health insurance coverage in America and have a serious unexpected sickness or injury that requires you to go to the hospital, you can soon find yourself in extreme debt. The high costs of ambulance, surgery, hospital stay, medication, physical therapy, etc., add up quickly. It costs about 12 times more to go to the hospital than to the doctor’s office.
Studies show that non-elderly adults and young adults in the age group of 18-64, regardless of ethnicity, and people from Asian, Hispanic, and African American ethnicities tend to make up the highest number of the uninsured population. These demographic studies result from the CDC’s national health interview survey.
Most people who don’t have health insurance usually won’t go to the doctor for regular preventative care. An annual check on your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels can help catch problems in their early stages. This allows any health issues to receive treatment sooner rather than later when your health is much worse. Adults over specific ages should have annual screenings such as a colonoscopy, mammograms, etc.
Many Americans can’t afford the required medications without health insurance and will suffer because of it. The average cost of cancer medication can easily be $10,000 per month.
What percentage of Americans are without insurance?
Currently, about 8% of Americans are without health insurance. On the bright side, that number continues to drop.
How many uninsured Americans are there in 2022?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau surveys, around 31 million Americans will be uninsured in 2022.
What are the arguments for and against mandatory health insurance?
- Protect you from medical bankruptcy
- Provide lower premiums for younger adults
- Cover expensive prescription drugs
- Find health issues early through annual checkups
- Cover expensive medical treatments that may be unaffordable otherwise
- Could increase overall premiums
- Higher increases with age
- Lack of choice of medical providers
- Overcrowd waiting room
- Limit access to coverage
What are the benefits of being insured?
Enrolling in health insurance can benefit you with financial protection, preventative care, and exemption from tax penalty charges.
What are some reasons for people to be uninsured?
The reasons that some Americans are uninsured are the high costs of health insurance premiums and deductibles that are hard to reach. In addition, not being eligible to buy a plan that would benefit their needs, and they may have missed the deadline for open enrollment and don’t meet the exception requirements.
What is the number of uninsured Americans?
The number of uninsured people in America is about 31 million out of roughly 332 million.
What percentage of the uninsured are children?
The percentage of children in the total uninsured population is about 10%.
Do you, as an American, need health insurance?
As we have read above, there are pros and cons to health insurance in America. While health insurance is a major monthly expense, it can also prevent you from losing all your wealth when the unexpected happens. A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study found that the number of people without health insurance is declining. It’s best to be prepared; we can help you find an affordable health insurance policy with our online tools.