The countdown is on. The last day to buy a health insurance plan for 2015 coverage is February 15. Unless you have a special circumstance during the year, like getting married, having a baby or changing jobs, you will not be able to gain insurance coverage. Here are the top reasons why you shouldn’t delay:
- You never know what’s around the corner. Even if you are young, healthy, or have never had a broken bone or accident, unforeseen things can happen. In a moment you could be on your way to the hospital or need major surgery.
- Medical bills are the number one cause of personal bankruptcy. Americans pay three times more for medical debt than bank or credit card debt.1 In 2012, the average surgical inpatient stay was $21, 200. This doesn’t take into account previous and follow-up medical treatment. Not having health insurance can be a financial risk.
- Pre-existing conditions are no longer an issue. Before the Affordable Care Act was law, individuals with a chronic health condition could be denied health insurance. This is no longer the case. All Americans can, and must, enroll in a health insurance plan.
- Self-employed? Your monthly health insurance premiums are tax deductible. Entrepreneurs know there are plenty of expenses that can be written off come tax time. Health insurance premiums are yet one more deduction.
- Preventive care is included at no cost to you. Certain services and screenings are covered free of charge, and will not go against your deductible or coinsurance.
- You could qualify for a financial subsidy to help pay for your monthly premium. More than 85 percent of individuals who enrolled on the federal marketplace exchange in 2014 qualified for some financial assistance to help pay for their monthly health insurance cost. See if you might be eligible for a financial subsidy.
- Many low cost, high deductible plans are compatible with a health savings account. When you have a health savings account, you can place money into the account tax-free. The money rolls-over year after year, so you can plan ahead for future medical bills.
- You take several prescription drugs. When you have health insurance coverage that includes a rich prescription drug plan, you may be able to lower your overall drug costs, even after paying your deductible.
- It’s the law. The Affordable Care Act, also commonly known as Obamacare, was signed into law March 23, 2010. With the passage of this law, everyone is required to have health insurance unless they have a qualifying exemption.
- You will pay a tax penalty if you don’t have health insurance coverage. If you do not have health insurance coverage at least nine months of the year you will owe $325 in fees or 2 percent of your household income on your2015 taxes, whichever is greater.
1”Why Americans are Drowning in Medical Debt.” The Atlantic. October 8, 2014.