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OPINION

Health and Wellness: Why buy health insurance?

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department

Health insurance helps pay costs when you need care. No one plans to get sick or hurt, but most people need medical care at some point. Health insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company. You buy a plan, and the company agrees to pay part of your medical costs when you get sick or hurt.

This is “open enrollment” time for Marketplace health insurance. If you’re not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, and aren’t offered health insurance by an employer, you can get coverage through the Marketplace at https://www.healthcare.gov/. The open enrollment period ends Dec. 15. If you sign up by then, you will have health insurance for all of 2021.

You’ll usually pay a premium every month for health coverage, and you may also have to meet a deductible each year. A deductible is the amount you owe for covered health care services before your health insurance or plan begins to pay. The deductible may not apply to all services. How much you pay for your premium and deductible is based on the plan you choose. Just as important as the premium cost and deductible is the co-payment, or how much you have to pay when you get services.