Why should I buy health insurance?

Learn about why its smart to buy health insurance.

What you need to know

Simply put, health insurance saves you money.

Compare it to other types of insurance: you buy auto insurance so a company pays for your car to be repaired as well as compensate people injured in accident. You buy homeowners insurance to avoid paying out of pocket to repair your house if it's damaged. You buy health insurance to help reduce the cost to see a doctor, get medical attention in an emergency, and manage chronic conditions.

Take cancer, for example. According to the US Government's National Cancer Institute, the cost per year for treating cancer was $40,000 in 2010, and expected to be $48,000 in 2020. Without health insurance, you're paying for all of that, instead of a portion of it.

For an uncomplicated childbirth, costs can range from $3,000 to $37,000 in California. Without insurance, you'll pay the entire amount that the hospital, the doctors, and everyone else involved in bringing your child into the world charges.

You'll likely have a deductible on your health insurance plan, which means you need to pay a certain amount before your health insurance kicks in. But if you're getting services from in network providers, you're paying less than you would without insurance. Additionally, there's a limit to how much you're allowed to spend out-of-pocket. If you have a significant medical situation – heart attack, cancer, childbirth – you'll pay significantly less on a health insurance plan than you would if you had no insurance and are responsible for the entire bill.