Going For Broke: The United Healthcare System of America
Updated: May 5
United States Healthcare Explained
The health care system in the United States is definitely unique. Because unlike many other developed countries the United States does not have a universal healthcare system.
A universal health care system is a system that provides medical services to all of its citizens. Instead, the United States has what’s called a hybrid public/private health care system which I will talk about later in this post.
But I’ll have you know, that our healthcare system is infamous for having the most expensive but ineffective healthcare system in the world. It only comes to a surprise because for being a developed country we sure don’t have it together.
Health insurance in the United States is pretty pricey…and seeing a doctor will cost you an arm and a leg.
Literally, it will cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, many people file for bankruptcy due to their inability to pay off medical bills.
What Is Healthcare?
Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illness, injury, disease and other physical or mental impairments (1).
Now there are many metrics that determine the overall quality of a country’s health care system.
Generally, the quality of a country’s health care system is dependent on a few factors such as:
How much the country is spending on health care
The quality of the country’s health care
How available and/or accessible health care is
The overall health of the country
The Best Healthcare Systems in The World 2020
According to The Legatum Institue’s Prosperity Index, the following countries that made the “Best Healthcare In The World 2020” include (2)
The United States of America! Where you at?
Not on this list.
Types of Health Insurance In The United States
As mentioned before, the United States doesn’t have a universal healthcare system. In fact, people are able to shop around purchase their own medical insurance based on what fits their budget and medical history. Hey! Freedom of Choice!
Typically, health insurance is considered private and/or publicly funded. The following are the most common types of insurance schemes.
Employer-provided (private)— where a citizen is provided health insurance through their workplace. The majority of Americans are under this.
Medicare (public)— Publicly funded for older individuals (older than 65) and for those who are considered disabled.
Medicaid (public)— for low-income individuals and families.
It’s good to have options however choosing your health insurance isn’t an end all be all. Each may have its limitations and just because you have it doesn’t mean it covers everything.
And wait! There is more…
Factors To Consider When Choosing Health Insurance In The United States
Choosing which medical insurance to get can really go over your head sometimes. But these are the things you should consider before you choose one that is a good fit for you.
Deductibles — What you will pay before your insurance will pay for anything.
Copayments — What you will pay for every medical visit.
Coinsurance — This is a percentage of what you pay.
Premiums — What you pay even if you don’t make a claim.
The thing about having health insurance in the United States is that having it doesn’t mean all medical expenses will be covered.
In fact, health insurance was designed to share medical costs with you.
What Happens When You Have No Insurance?
You are out of luck! No, just kidding.
Under certain circumstances whether you have insurance or not doctors are required to treat you the best, they can. So if you come to walk in with blood gushing all over the place they are required to help you thanks to The Emergency Medical Treatment & Active Labor Act (1986).
It’s not free though. In the end, you’ll get a hefty medical bill with your name on it.
At one point, everyone was required to have health insurance via The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and if you didn’t have it you were fined. Now, this isn’t the case.
No money to pay it off? Don’t worry about it. America has debt collectors that will come for you. You could also file for bankruptcy. Sell your house. Sell your assets. Sell your soul…just kidding.
But might as well right?
Did You Know
Many Americans delay being treated for serious medical conditions due to their inability to afford it (5).
Could this be the reason why our population is considered unhealthy? Even though someone needs treatment they choose not to get it so they stay untreated.
Or when they do get treatment…do they only seek it in dire circumstances?
There is a lot of uncertainty in the United States healthcare system. But what most of us can agree on is that it doesn’t do a great job to ensure that its citizens are in good health.
The thing about having health insurance is that you are never going to know when you will need it.
It’s good to have it, but a majority of us pray that we won’t ever have to use it.
No one wants to pay a million dollars for a sprained ankle.
Nobody. Even if you can afford it.