Every country approaches healthcare differently.  Some countries nationalize their health care system, while others leave it up entirely to private industry.  Still there are other countries that do both.  The United States is one such example of a country that is not only providing multiple kinds of health insurance, but also currently in the process of a gradual transition requiring every citizen to have health insurance.  Lets take a moment to dive into the US health system, and review the basics of health coverage and why it is important to have health insurance.

The Basics of Health Coverage in the United States

In the United States, the traditional source of health insurance has come from someone’s employer.  This system came into existence during and after World War II, and is generally not shared by other developed countries.  Not all employers are required to provide health insurance, and every job will have a different level of coverage and payment depending on what kind of plan you are willing to pay for.

More recently, there has been a push to nationalize health care. Private providers are offering more extensive coverage options that are convenient and affordable for most people.  While this does not mean that the government is supplying the health care, it does mean that the government is trying to get every person to sign up for health insurance.  The US government is doing this by opening up health care exchanges in every state, where individuals can shop around for the best possible prices and plans.

Why Is It Important to have Coverage?

To put it simply, cost is the most important reason why it is important to have health insurance.  The individual cost per doctor’s appointment is very high if you have no health insurance.  In addition, the cost of operations or continued medication can run tens of thousands of dollars.  As a result, without some level of coverage provided by health insurance, you will owe thousands to tens of thousands of dollars if something goes wrong.

With the Affordable Care Act, signing up for health insurance is possible, even if your employer does not provide it.  Depending on your plan, you will have a deductible.  Everything after that should be covered by your provider.  While the Affordable Care Act creates the marketplace for insurance plans, the plans are still provided by the insurance companies, meaning that there will be a number of plans to choose from.  As a final note, if you are visiting the United States on vacation, you should consider getting travel insurance while in the country.