To fully grasp the field of health insurance, it helps to start with the most basic of things.
Health Insurance is a form of insurance where the insurer pays the medical bills of the person who is insured. At least, the insurer pays the medical bills if the medical treatment is covered by the insurance policy. There are other factors that may have an impact on the responsibility of the insurer to pay. These include deductibles, co-payments, and in-network care providers. There are some countries that consider Health Insurance as a basic right of all citizens and the government provides it at no cost to everyone. The United States has a system of private health insurance where the responsibility for procuring it is up to the individual.
It is estimated that 85% of all Americans are covered by health insurance. Around 60% of this total receives their insurance through their employers and another 29% receive it from some government agency. There are an estimated 41.2 million people in the United States that are not covered by any form of health insurance. The cost of health insurance plans is the most often cited reason for lack of coverage, although some people feel that the current structure of the plans makes them unnecessary for healthy people.
Health insurance traces its origins back to 1694 when Hugh the Elder Chamberlen first proposed a type of disability insurance in England. Up until the mid 20th century this was the basis for most health insurance policies. They were actually disability insurance policies as the coverage only applied to injuries and medical treatments that could lead to permanent disability. In recent years, the thrust of the policies has been more toward health than disability. Coverage was extended to routine medical treatments, preventive care, emergency room visits, and even prescription drugs.
The full answer to the question \”what is health insurance?\” is a bit complicated as several different formats have evolved. A policy that pays the entire cost of medical treatments, which is what is offered in other countries that provide universal health insurance, is rare in the United States. Most policies have deductibles, which is the amount the insured must pay up front before the insurance kicks in. There are also co-payments where the cost of routine procedures is split between the insurance company and the insured.
There are several issues that have forced the cost of health insurance up and led to increased deductibles and co-payments. One is the ever rising cost of medical care. Another has to do with the selection process. Health insurance works on the general principle that a large number of healthy people pay insurance premiums and when one of them becomes ill, the collected money pays his expenses. The problem is that many healthy people are opting out on health insurance, which means the dynamic has changed. Now, a large number of not so healthy people are paying premiums and most of them need the money to pay their expenses. This is one of the reasons that insurance companies have become more willing to pay for routine care and especially preventive medicine.