Maybe you just turned 26, and can no longer be on Mom and Dad’s health insurance plan. Or, you’re a healthy 30 year old whose employer does not offer coverage. Is it really worth it to purchase your own plan? Yes, 20-somethings and 30-somethings, health insurance is always a good idea. When you’re a kid, the “You’re not invincible!” or any “I told you so” speech is unpleasant, but as an adult, tearing your ACL during a weeknight volleyball game, or simply needing to take an antibiotic for a few days, can have significant financial consequences without a bit of planning ahead. Purchasing your own health insurance is the worry-free, responsible choice for many reasons.
You’ll have a safety net. Perhaps you were, and continue to be, the unlucky friend (sorry) who has strep throat 32,973 times per year. Without the help of insurance to offset costs, bills from doctor visits or prescription fees can add up quickly. Occasionally, the unexpected happens (because: life) and for patients not covered by health insurance, procedures like an appendectomy can cost over $10,000. Money that could go towards savings or an equally unexpected Target splurge (because: Target) would now be spent on a faulty appendix you hadn’t been prepared to lose.
It doesn’t have to be crazy-expensive. Discounts do exist in the land of health insurance! If your aversion to insurance rests on the suspected price, tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies are available from the government, and can lower your premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. Only plans purchased via the MNsure website will take into account these discounts, if you meet the current income guidelines. For example, in 2016, a single person making less than $47,080 may qualify for discounts. However, if a person does not, there are still a range of plan offerings and premium rates to fit your lifestyle and budget.
Welp, you’re required by law to have health insurance. (And there’s a penalty for those who don’t enroll.) Because of the Affordable Care Act, all Americans who can afford health insurance must purchase a plan that qualifies as minimum essential coverage. If you don’t, you will have to acknowledge any gaps in your coverage when you file your taxes. A fee, referred to as “the individual responsibility payment,” will be assessed as a result. The fee (or penalty) is calculated as either a percentage of your household income or per person — whichever is higher. Ouch.
Choosing a plan can be confusing, but that is why our agents want to help you! Don’t let your [shaky] invincibility, fear of costs, and ignorance of the law stop you from purchasing health insurance this year. Leaving Target with a shopping cart full of Halloween candy, a new lamp and the complete DVD set of Gilmore Girls is much nicer than mailing a monthly check to a hospital to pay off your appendectomy.