If your employer doesn’t offer insurance, the thought of buying your own benefits might not be very appealing. After all, health care is expensive. Why do you need insurance if you're healthy? Here are three reasons even healthy people need health insurance: 1) Financial Protection No one kicks off the New Year with a resolution to get a serious illness or injury (we hope). But the reality is we never know what’s going to happen. On average, a 3-day hospital stay is $30,000 if you are uninsured. The average emergency room visit costs over $2000, 40 percent more than a month’s rent for the average American. So while you can’t plan falling sick or getting injured, you can plan ahead to protect yourself from medical debt, the leading cause of personal bankruptcy, by buying insurance. 2) Access to Healthcare Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance plans now include benefits to help us stay healthy, preventing these unexpected costs in the first place. The Affordable Care Act established 10 Essential Health Benefits that all new plans must cover, including hospital stays and costs for prescription drugs. All ACA-compliant plans must also provide free preventive care like vaccinations, screenings, and management of chronic health conditions like diabetes or asthma. With a Blue Cross health insurance plan, you also get access a team of wellness experts that provide coaching and support to help you meet your health goals. 3) Avoid Fines Just like everyone has to have car insurance– everyone is now required to have health insurance. If you go without insurance, you’ll pay a penalty at tax time. In 2015, the penalty for not purchasing health insurance is increasing to $325 per adult or 2% of household income, whichever is more. For a couple that each makes $50,000, this means you’d be paying $2,000 at tax time for going uninsured. That’s a lot to pay for nothing! Aside from saving money and giving you peace of mind, when you sign up for insurance, it puts you in control of your health and health care costs. Interested in learning more or signing up? Here’s a primer on how to enroll. For more health insurance tips visit bcbsm.com/101 or follow the hashtag #Covered101 on our social channels. If you have a specific question, please submit your query online through our Customer Action Center. Photo credit: Reinhard Burkl
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