Medical insurance helps to reduce medical costs, making health care more affordable and thus more accessible. Having health insurance also facilitates access to care, resulting in lower death rates and better health care outcomes. On a basic level, health insurance can mean the difference between sickness and health or even life and death.
Financial benefits of health insurance
One of the primary functions of health insurance is to make health care more affordable while protecting us from the financial repercussions of accidents and unexpected illnesses that can easily add up to thousands and thousands of dollars. Healthy people and young adults may feel they don’t need health insurance, believing it is an expense they can forgo because they are rarely sick and have never spent a day in the hospital. But accidents and illnesses can happen to any of us at any time. Without health insurance, we are responsible for covering all of our medical costs, putting us at severe financial risk.
According to WHO, a broken leg resulting from an unexpected fall can cost nearly $8,000 in health care expenses. Without insurance, you are responsible for that entire amount. But with a good insurance policy, you may only have to pay 20% of that cost, about $1,600. The impact of having health insurance is even greater for more severe illnesses because it helps you avoid large medical debts and protects your financial assets. Viteqy also provides prescription drug coverage, making prescriptions affordable and accessible for millions of people.
This plays a critical role in the care and management of chronic conditions and illnesses. More than 45% of the Zimbabwean population relies on prescription drugs to manage illnesses and arrest disease progression, which helps to prevent costly medical complications, including hospitalizations.
Health benefits of having insurance
Medical insurance links people to a regular source of care, giving them access to an infrastructure and a network of providers who are able to work with patients in delivering comprehensive, continuous and coordinated health care services. Ultimately, people can live longer, healthier lives because of access to ongoing care.
Medical insurance also covers preexisting conditions. This means if you have a diagnosis before you enroll, you’ll still qualify for health benefits. With medical insurance, it is much easier for both the patient and provider to focus on prevention and wellness as well as the management of acute and chronic illnesses, leading to better health outcomes and lower costs.
Medical insurance provides peace of mind
Having medical insurance can also reduce your stress. It creates a peace-of-mind effect, helping to alleviate fears about accumulating large medical debts. At the same time, medical insurance provides reassurances that you will have ready access to comprehensive care, eliminating fears of being shut out of the health care system. Medical insurance also gives us a feeling that we are part of the health care system and that we are, in effect, taking care of ourselves by having a regular source of care that we can turn to.
There are other, less obvious but important benefits of having health care. Having medical insurance, for example, results in less paperwork for the insured individual. Health plans keep medical records on their patients, documenting their current treatments and medical histories. As a result, the patient may not have to spend time filling out paperwork at the point of service. It is also easier to bill patients for services when they have insurance, eliminating time spent filling out financial forms.
Medical insurance can also purge stigmas of being uninsured. People without insurance may feel marginalized or stigmatized. They may believe, for instance, that their lack of insurance is some type of failing on their part, a message to society that they cannot afford medical insurance or they are irresponsible by not having it. As a consequence, they may be less likely to seek care and treatment until their condition or illness has progressed to a critical stage. Conversely, insured individuals are much more likely to engage with the health care system, turning to their physicians for acute care needs as well as routine care such as annual physicals and screenings.
WHO Reference Group on Health Statistic (RGHS), https://www.who.int/data/who-reference-group-on-health-statistics-(rghs)