Students often wonder if they really need health insurance. It seems like a reasonable question when you are young and healthy and seemingly invincible. After all, almost everyone who knows how to access the health care system is provided with basic health care services and acute care (like emergency care) in the United States, regardless of whether or not they have health insurance. Young adults tend to use health care services less often than any other group. The odds are that a young adult will go more than 12 months without any need for health care. Even among those who need health care, the likelihood of exceeding $1000 annual healthcare expenses is very small. So it is reasonable to wonder whether a young adult really needs health insurance at all.
But the situation changes when we consider the more extensive and more costly types of health care. The ability of a patient to obtain top quality medical care for the most serious types of health care – things like transplants, extended hospital care, physical rehabilitation, and long term outpatient care – depend more on whether the patient has adequate health insurance than any other factor. A simple attack of appendicitis could easily wind up costing more than $25,000. Even an affluent family will have difficulty arranging adequate medical care without insurance coverage. Unfortunately, if you wait until you need this type of care it will be difficult or impossible to buy health insurance that covers these items.