Given the multiple levels of failure of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, which is resulting in millions of Americans losing their current health insurance as they're being prevented from even being able to shop for it on the badly broken Healthcare.gov web site, a lot of Americans are likely asking themselves whether they even need health insurance. If you're among them, we've built a tool to help you answer that question.
First, we've refined our estimates of the probability that an individual might have a health condition serious enough to require admission to a hospital for treatment, which we've illustrated in the following chart.
Although our mathematical model is based upon the rates of hospital admissions for the population of Singapore, we would expect that these values are close to what they would be for the U.S. population.
Just enter your data in our tool below, and we'll estimate the odds that you would need to be admitted to a hospital to treat a significant health condition.
If you're reading this article on a site that republishes our RSS news feed, click here to access a working version of this tool!
The trick is to use this information to assess whether it might make more sense for you to self-insure, which is what you would really be choosing to do by not acquiring health insurance. If that's you, we can recommend Sean Parnell's blog The Self-Pay Patient and also his list of useful resources. You'll have to decide what's an acceptable amount of risk of expenses for you to carry all on your own if you opt out of getting health insurance coverage in favor of this approach.
The good news, if you can call it that, is that you can always change your mind and pick up coverage in the next enrollment period, or if you qualify for Special Enrollment. Or you might consider a short term medical plan, which Hank Stern has identified as a possible way to get real health insurance coverage outside of the official enrollment periods for Obamacare.
Beyond that, there are certain conditions that should prompt you to acquire regular health insurance coverage outside of what the our tool's results might indicate, which would apply to a generic individual plucked at random from the entire population.
- If you or a member of your household are going to have a baby, or plan to during the next calendar year, your child's delivery will very likely take place in hospital facilities. According to Cigna, a normal delivery can cost over $7,500, so you would likely benefit from having health insurance coverage, which becomes especially true if your child's delivery is more complicated.
- If you have very young children, especially under the age of 2, you will likely benefit from having health insurance coverage.
- If your health or that of a member of your household is impaired, such as might be the case if you're managing a chronic health condition like diabetes, you will likely benefit from having health insurance coverage.
- If you or a member of your household are involved in violent crime or associate with those who do, or are otherwise planning to engage in risky activities with a high likelihood of injury or that might make you sick, you will likely benefit from having health insurance coverage.
We'll stop there because we're starting to sound way too much like Jeff Foxworthy....