Jan was always a healthy girl. She played sports in high school, always passed annual physicals, and rarely took sick days. During her second year of college, she got very sick with what her mother called the flu, but days turned into weeks, and Jan was still sick. Jan was healthy, so when her parents' insurance dropped her at eighteen, she didn't look for health insurance. With no coverage, and no money to pay a hospital or clinic, Jan missed class after class. Finally a professor informed her that the campus clinic was free to students! Jan made an appointment as soon as she could, and was able to get blood work that helped to diagnose her serious vitamin deficiency.
Jan's story is all too familiar to Americans today. Healthy Americans feel they don't need insurance, especially those aged 19-25. Unfortunately, this is the time when many major illnesses and diseases are diagnosed. Most mental health disorders become prominent and noticeable in the early twenties among other diseases like type 1 diabetes, thyroid disorders, and even deadly allergies. Many life-threatening circumstances can be avoided when healthy people have insurance.
Health Insurance Keeps Healthy People Healthy
It's possible that people don't understand the importance of health insurance, because they simply don't know what it can do for them. The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion strives to improve access to quality healthcare. When Americans have health insurance, they have better access to quality care that will impact their physical, social, and mental health for the better.
Insurance companies don’t like to waste money, so when you pay for an insurance policy, it will cover evidence-based preventative measures to:
- Prevent illness by promoting healthy behaviors
- Prevent illness by protecting those most at risk
- Prevent illness by identifying and treating those most at risk before they develop the illness
Establish a Primary Care Provider
Your insurance policy will likely cover specific physicians that are "in network." Establishing a primary care provider cultivates an ongoing health relationship in which the physician knows the case well and can better treat the patient.
Health Insurance Prevents Financial Ruin
Though health insurance comes with a cost, it protects a healthy person from financial ruin in the event of a devastating illness. Financial responsibility often keeps individuals from seeking care, and financial stress can also take away from the healing process.
Health insurance is the net that stretches far and wide below the tightrope that Americans walk every day. There can be holes in the net, policy loopholes that we don't know exist or don't understand. There may be a policy change that we aren't ready for, but it's important that the policy is there. Even healthy Americans are only healthy until something happens. Accidents happen, genetics catch up with us, metabolisms slow down, and germs abound. The old adage is true: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.