Of course, nobody really needs health insurance – until you do need it.
And then, if you don’t have it, you could end up with some hard choices. Go without medical care. Wait till you have to rush to the emergency room. Take on massive debt.
Millions of Americans are still uninsured. Some are in Indiana, making a little too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not quite enough to qualify for Obamacare tax credits or to buy a policy at full price. Gov. Mike Pence’s decision not to accept federal help to expand Medicaid in the state may have eliminated any option for them this year. Thousands more are eligible. But the deadline is next Monday.
We are still helping with applications, through the 31st, said Mary Haupert, president and CEO of Neighborhood Health Clinics. She said the online signup at HealthCare.gov goes more smoothly now, with few problems. People can do it themselves. But for people who feel like they’re lost, we can help them. Haupert reminds potential applicants that they can avoid a tax penalty by signing up. It’s small this year, but by 2016, it goes to 3 percent of income, so it could be significant.
Help also is available from CANI and the Volunteer Center (see box.)
If you’re young, and if you don’t have a family, you probably don’t worry too much about health care insurance. Odds are that you haven’t been persuaded to register by the Obama administration’s sometimes awkward attempts to get your attention. The ads only underscore the administration’s desperation to attract more young applicants to offset the cost of insurance for older insurees and keep overall policy costs within bounds.
But don’t buy insurance out of patriotic duty. Buy it because you can. Get it because you never know when you’re going to need it.
One night this winter in Fort Wayne, a man a little older than you went home from work with a pain in his side. This man had never been seriously ill, and, other than a routine stay after an orthopedics operation, had never been hospitalized.
But in that one night, out of the blue, his life took a turn and he ended up having an operation, seeing a battery of specialists and being hospitalized for most of a week.
He’s OK now, but he shudders to think how many thousands of dollars the treatment, tests and hospitalization would have cost him without insurance.
This man would advise you to sign up this week. Even if he hadn’t written this editorial.
The deadline is next Monday.