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How are you going to pay for health care?

by Breonnah Colón - Lifestyles Editor
Tue, Feb 20th 2018 12:00 pm

At this stage in our lives as college students, it seems as though we’re standing at a crossroad. While it may not seem like it throughout our typical days of figuring out what our homework is and misplacing class syllabi, we’re coming closer and closer to stepping into adulthood; a world of doctor’s appointments, insurance and even property ownership. 

Despite our lack of knowledge of the everyday work of an actual adult, we have to figure out the foundations for the lives we’ve always daydreamed about as children. One way to do that is by tackling the issue of health insurance.

In order to understand how to manage health insurance, we must first learn what health insurance is. The website medicalnewstoday.com defines health insurance as a form of coverage which, “covers the cost of an insured individual’s medical and surgical expenses.” While that may seem simple enough, health insurance has a few different facets in and of itself. 

For one thing, there is no one type of coverage or payment. The website explains health insurance can either be paid out-of-pocket by the patient who is later reimbursed, or  through direct payments to the entity providing the service. This can be a range of anything, from a pharmacy or a clinic to a lab.

In the United States, health insurance is taxed by the federal government, meaning every citizen making legal money has a small portion of money taken out of their paychecks. This money is used to fund the country’s universal health insurance companies, which are typically offered as part of employment benefits. 

The idea is that the public helps to fund the health aid it will need; however, not too many people appreciate this practice. This is typically why you hear politicians going back and forth over budget cuts to health coverage. 

In the U.S., health insurance is not seen as a human right, but rather, an individual’s responsibility. Someone would have to make sure to apply for and reinstate their health insurance should it expire. 

The exceptions to this rule are senior citizens who receive Medicare, a type of insurance coverage available only to active military personnel and those above the age of 65.  According to stripes.com, there is a common misconception that both veterans and their families are guaranteed medical insurance for life. 

It is also important to note that there is a difference in the sort of entities that provide health insurance coverage. There are private insurance companies, which tend to be the sort of insurance coverage offered by employers as part of worker’s benefits, and there are public insurance companies, run by the federal government, which are the companies the public gets taxed for. According to webmd.com, buying insurance on your own rather than accepting coverage as part of a benefit package is typically more expensive because there is no one to split the cost with.

There is also a system referred to as “managed care,” which is when a particular plan is associated with specific facilities and health care providers to give patients access to their medical care at a lower cost. This is something to look out for, especially if you move, because location can sometimes cause you to change your health care plan or health insurance overall.

If that wasn’t complicated enough, different health care plans, available from different insurance companies, come with different forms of coverage and prices. For example, one plan may cover 25 percent of a surgery for a specific price, but not include payment for prescription drugs, while another may cover the same percentage of surgery cost and a fraction of the cost to purchase prescription medication, but for a higher cost overall.

In addition to all of these different factors, insurance laws are constantly being targeted by the federal government. There are politicians who seek to change the amount of public coverage available as well as the standards an individual is required to meet before being able to have access to their coverage. This impacts the amount of taxes citizens have to pay and the sort of medical attention they receive.

While it all may seem very overwhelming, it is important to understand that health insurance is not too different from figuring out what classes to take each semester. You look at what each option offers, how much it’ll cost and whether it works for you. If you can do that, you’ll be all set. 

We may not be full-grown adults yet, but we’re getting there. For more information on health coverage, you can visit healthcare.gov.



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