The History of Health Insurance
The history of health insurance is long and complex, and actually quite interesting. Plus, health insurance matters to you today. It has become a hot topic for politics too; don’t worry, we won’t go there. But we will look at some surprising options for your health insurance. Did you know you can get health insurance from wholesale clubs?
Almost everyone loves to complain about health care in America. Talk to the average person, and they probably have their own list of grievances with the current system. Life expectancy has increased along with the advances in health care, making good insurance important.
Medical advances have been incredible in America, but they are also expensive. Someone has to pay the bill. Whether you think health insurance should be a taxpayer burden, an employer’s bill, or whatever inventive solution you can imagine, the cost of medical care is as astonishing as its advances. Let’s take a quick look at the situation.
The Industrial Revolution
Health care as a system was non-existent earlier in American history. Wars were often the only chance for medicine to advance. Battlefield care was necessary and valued. The military paid their doctors.
Outside of that, medical care was a luxury for the wealthy and primarily consisted of trial and error. The industrial revolution changed that.
The birth of the middle class was mainly due to factory labor. Factory work prompted discussions of workers’ rights and employer responsibility. In addition, factory jobs were hazardous to people’s health, and worker’s compensation became a hot conversation among the burgeoning unions.
Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) were in-house solutions to care for the health of company employees, meeting the needs of the time.
Advances in Medicine
The years leading up to World War II saw major medical advances in hospital settings. However, the research and tools needed to spur these advances required significant funding. As a result, a hospital stay cost more than the average person could pay.
Health care became a money-making industry. Today, medical positions are well paid and well respected. Even you might have ambitions to become a nurse or a doctor. There was once a time when these were menial positions.
America’s post-World War II economy prompted employers to offer competitive health packages as incentives for workers to choose to work for them. Through the birth of the IRS, the government began offering tax benefits to employers who provided health plans.
Employers needed systemized health care options, and health insurance companies were born. This development took the cost-setting discussions beyond the HMO scene. Health costs increased as health insurance plans expanded to include preventive care and clinic work.
Affordable Care Act
Since the birth of health insurance companies and the merging of major hospitals to form health systems, costs have skyrocketed. Change was needed. Enter the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act legislated health insurance for all citizens but left implementation to each state. Health insurance is no longer just a luxury. So, where does this leave you?
Finding Healthcare for You
You can manage some health concerns at home, but at a certain point, you may need a doctor. What happens if you end up in the hospital? However you feel about the politicization of health care, it is necessary. So what can you do? Compare your options.
Yes, your best option will be health insurance through your employer most of the time, but there are other options. These are especially important for freelancers, self-employed, and small business owners. Here are some of the options available:
- Health-share plans
- State-provided plans
- Wholesale clubs
- Military option
Health-share plans are increasingly popular. Something that started as a religious program has moved beyond just faith-based options to include secular community-based options. Each health share agreement is different, but basically, it is a group of people who agree to pay for each other’s medical expenses. They are primarily nonprofit organizations.
State-provided plans differ among the states. Medicaid and Medicare are federal health programs, but how each state uses or rejects these funds affects their availability. Each state posts its specific information online. Check your state health department website.
Wholesale Club Health Insurance
You may not know it, but wholesale clubs now offer competitive auto, life, and health insurance options. Big box stores partner with nationwide insurance companies and marketplaces to offer members special plans. Their health insurance options are geared toward their small business owners.
Insurance for Part-Time Military Members
Joining your state’s National Guard gives you the opportunity of a part-time position with full medical coverage. Many professionals and freelancers choose to be weekend warriors for healthcare benefits. These benefits will follow you into retirement, provided you meet your retirement requirements.
You Need Health Insurance
This is obvious, but it’s wise to carry health insurance. Why not go the extra mile and consider alternatives to traditional employer-provided health care? You might find better care at a more reasonable cost, and this will be well worth the effort.
Maria Hanson writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, Clearsurance.com. She is passionate about helping people understand their options when it comes to insurance and finding their best fit.