What is 'Health Insurance'?

Health insurance is a type of insurance coverage that pays for medical and surgical expenses incurred by the insured. Health insurance can reimburse the insured for expenses incurred from illness or injury, or pay the care provider directly. It is often included in employer benefit packages as a means of enticing quality employees. The cost of health insurance premiums is deductible to the payer, and benefits received are tax-free.

Why Health Insurance Is Important?

Having health insurance is important for several reasons. Uninsured people receive less medical care and less timely care, they have worse health outcomes, and lack of insurance is a fiscal burden for them and their families. Moreover, the benefits of expanding coverage outweigh the costs for added services. Safety-net care from hospitals and clinics improves access to care but does not fully substitute for health insurance.

What Are the Benefits of Having Health Insurance?

Health insurance does more than offer financial benefits to some of life's most serious physical conditions. It also offers peace of mind. While not all people choose to carry health insurance, those who do are better able to find the type of treatment they need when a serious condition strikes. The most common benefits of health insurance are doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription drugs and preventive care. Vision and mental health benefits may also be offered.