According to Familiesusa.org, the Census Bureau found that 46.3 million people were uninsured in 2008, and this is expected to be even higher for the 2009 and 2010 because of the increasing unemployment rate. Although health insurance is a blessing for most people that suffer from illness, it does have certain disadvantages that some have to carefully consider.
Health insurance can be very costly even for those that have a health insurance plan through their employers. This cost can sometimes be so expensive that the person may struggle to make payments. This is problematic for those that have a low income or are self-employed. Families may also have a great deal of difficulty affording coverage for the entire family because of the cost. In addition, even if someone is able to afford health insurance, they may not be able to afford the co-pays. Some health insurance plans have high co-pays that can be costly to a person with an average or low income level. In the end, the total cost has to be carefully weighed by the person considering health insurance.
Actual medical coverage can also be a disadvantage to some people with health insurance. The medical coverage may not be enough to sufficiently cover the cost of tests, surgeries and procedures that need to be done. This can leave the person paying high bills for medical services and may even cause some people to refuse medical care that they need. This can lead to an exacerbation of illness or even death, which can end up costing the person, the person's family, taxpayers and even the government more money.
If a person enrolls in a new group health insurance plan, they may be asked if they have any pre-existing conditions. According to Healthinsuranceinfo.net, which is provided through the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, some people that have a pre-existing illness have to undergo a waiting period if changing employers. In addition, after enrolling in a new group health insurance plan, if a claim is made during the first year, the insurance company has the right to “look back” to see if this was due to a pre-existing condition. If it was, the insurance company may refuse to pay for any charges related to this “pre-existing condition.” This may be in effect for up to 18 months and can be quite expensive for someone with a serious illness.
- Healthinsuranceinfo.net: Can a Group Health Plan Limit my Coverage for Pre-existing Health Conditions?
- Familiesusa.org: Census Bureau Finds the Number of Uninsured Grew to 46.3 Million in 2008; 2009;
- Medicaid.gov. "Eligibility." Accessed Dec. 10, 2019.
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). "Fast Facts: High Deductible Health Plans." Accessed Dec. 10, 2019.
- U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). "FAQs on COBRA Continuation Health Coverage." Accessed Dec. 10, 2019.
- U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). "Workers' Compensation." Accessed Dec. 10, 2019.
- Medicare.gov. "Get Started with Medicare." Accessed Dec. 10, 2019.
- Healthcare.gov. "Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions." Accessed Dec. 10, 2019.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Pre-Existing Conditions," Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
- Cigna. "Health Insurance Plans for Individuals and Families." Accessed Dec. 10, 2019.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Short-term Health Insurance Plans are an Affordable Option." Accessed Dec. 10, 2019.
- Cigna. "What Is Short Term Health Insurance?" Accessed Dec. 10, 2019.
- U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). "About Association Health Plans." Accessed Dec. 10, 2019.
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Consumer Alert: Not All Health Plans Are the Same, Know What You're Signing Up For." Accessed Dec. 10, 2019.
- The Commonwealth Fund. "Health Care Sharing Ministries: What Are the Risks to Consumers and Insurance Markets?" Accessed Dec. 10, 2019.
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Consumer Alert From the NAIC: Be Careful When Purchasing a Discount Health Card." Accessed Dec. 10, 2019.
Kristie Jernigan is a health writer with over 17 years of experience as a medical social worker. She has worked mainly with the elderly population and with children. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and early childhood from East Tennessee State University and a Master of Science in health care administration and gerontology from the University of Phoenix.