“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver” – Mahatma Gandhi once said. No one ever plans to get injured or sick, but inevitably and usually at the worst times, it happens.
There’s no doubt having healthcare coverage lessens the blow to your pocketbook when your toddler, who is a little too confident in his Superman abilities, attempts to leap the tall building (your couch) and falls and breaks his tiny wrist.
Let’s face it, when things are good and everyone is healthy, it’s hard not to look at the money you spend on monthly premiums and think of a hundred other things the money could be used for. It begs the question, “Do I have to have health insurance? Is it illegal to not have it?” Let’s explore that question.
What is Health Insurance?
Health insurance helps you pay for health care. You choose a plan that works best for your individual situation and agree to pay a premium (certain amount) each month. Your insurer then pays a portion of your medical costs.
There are several ways to obtain health insurance. Many employers offer it, you can sign up through the federal or state exchanges or you may be eligible for Medicaid or Medicare.
Is it Illegal to not Have Health Insurance?
Under the Affordable Care Act, a requirement was created for people that required them to have health insurance that meets certain standards called minimum essential coverage. The requirement to have health insurance is called the “individual mandate”.
The “individual mandate” means that if you don’t have health insurance that meets the minimum essential coverage standards, you may have to pay a fine when you file your taxes.
As of now, the individual mandate fine has been repealed, starting when you pay your 2020 taxes. Starting in 2019, when you purchase a health care plan, you will likely not need to worry about getting a plan that meets minimum essential coverage standards.
Why You Should Consider Having Health Insurance
Although you won’t have to worry about paying a fine starting in 2020, there are several reasons having health insurance is a good idea. You never start your day planning to get hurt or sick, but most of us will need health care at some point in our life.
Health insurance covers these costs and provides other benefits as well.
- Essential health benefits
- Protects from unexpected, high medical costs, (tiny wrists surprisingly cost a lot to fix).
- Pay less for in-network covered health care
- Free preventative care such as vaccines, screenings and some check-ups.
While you won’t have to pay a fine if you don’t have health insurance and starting in 2020, having health insurance provides peace of mind for you and your family.
Disclaimer: the content presented in this article are for informational purposes only, and is not, and must not be considered tax, investment, legal, accounting or financial planning advice, nor a recommendation as to a specific course of action. Investors should consult all available information, including fund prospectuses, and consult with appropriate tax, investment, accounting, legal, and accounting professionals, as appropriate, before making any investment or utilizing any financial planning strategy.