You probably know by now that going without health insurance means you’ll pay fees when you submit your taxes. But you might not be aware of other ways you could be throwing away your hard-earned cash by not signing up. Here are five hidden costs of forgoing coverage. Even Bigger Fees. If you had to pay fees at tax time this year, they might not have seemed that expensive. You should know that penalties for not signing up are much steeper now. You’ll pay two percent of your yearly household income or $325 per person ($162.50 per child under 18), whichever is higher. Last year’s penalties were one percent of household income or $95 per person ($47.50 per child under 18). If you make $50,000, last year’s $500 penalty doubles to $1,000 this year. Wouldn’t you prefer to actually get something for your money? Costlier Services. Insurance companies are able to negotiate with health-care providers for better rates. If you go it alone and pay out of pocket, you’ll likely spend more for the same services. No Preventive Care. Even the most affordable health insurance plans cover preventive services and yearly check-ups. In fact, under the Affordable Care Act, these services are some of the ten essential health benefits that all plans must cover. If you’re insured, you’re more likely to take advantage of these services, which means conditions can be caught earlier. Since it’s often more expensive to treat medical conditions detected at a later stage, preventive care can help you avoid costlier treatments and give you a shot at better health outcomes overall. Read more about why preventive care keeps you healthy and could save you money in the long run here. You’re More Likely to Go Into Debt or File for Bankruptcy. Medical expenses account for the biggest cause of bankruptcies in the United States, representing 62 percent of all personal bankruptcy cases, according to a study by Harvard researchers. A report found that “Americans pay three times more in third-party collections of medical debt each year than they pay for bank and credit card debt combined.” Having health insurance can help protect you from out-of-control debt and the interest and fees that come with it. Obtaining coverage can also help you avoid bankruptcy, which can wreak havoc on your credit score and finances for years. You’re Paying More for Stuff You Buy Anyway. When you sign up for a BCBSM plan, your membership card automatically entitles you to our Healthy Blue Xtras discount program. Flash your card at participating retailers and service providers to save money on everyday purchases. If you’re ready to stop throwing money away, shop around and find a plan that works for you. If you prefer one-on-one help, visit one of our walk-in centers for assistance. Photo credit: Jiposhy.com
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