Expecting the Unexpected

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Why do I need insurance?

Joe’s Story

This is Joe. He’s 27, single, and healthy. Not too worried about getting sick. He works two part-time jobs to make ends meet.

Joe is like lots of people in their 20s and 30s. He doesn’t have health insurance. Neither of his employers offers it, and Joe would rather spend his money on something else, like a shiny new bike.

Then something totally unexpected happens to Joe. Something that could happen to anyone. You’re riding your bike when you hit a pothole, do a wipeout and end up with a broken leg. Or you’ve had a painful cough for days. You do a quick online search … could it really be pneumonia?!

Naturally, nobody wants to think about these possibilities. But it’s not a bad idea to plan ahead, just in case. If you don’t have health insurance, medical costs can add up fast.

Let’s say you did end up with pneumonia. The average hospital stay for treatment is nearly six days, with an average cost of over $6,000.

Getting a broken leg fixed could set you back $7,500.

Without insurance, it’s up to you to pay those medical bills all on your own. In fact, unpaid medical bills contribute to 62% of all bankruptcies.

Healthcare reforms under the new Affordable Care Act help people like Joe avoid major money problems. They also make sure that everyone has access to all of the benefits of insurance that help you stay well.

Starting in 2014 nearly everyone will be required to have health insurance. If you’re still in your early 20s, you’ll be able to remain on your parent’s plan until you turn 26. As for Joe and the rest of you, you’ll need to get your own coverage. But don’t sweat it! You’ll be able to buy it directly from a health insurer. Or you could buy it online from a new “marketplace” that lets you compare plans from lots of insurers. Some people will even be eligible for a government subsidy that helps lower the cost.

The idea is to make the benefits of insurance accessible to everyone. Then you can see a doctor before you get really sick, prescriptions cost a lot less, and some insurers even offer wellness programs, gym discounts, and more cool stuff to keep you healthy.

Joe’s gotten better at avoiding potholes, but now that he has health insurance he’ll be covered. Just in case.


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