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Free Health Insurance

Health care is an issue individuals and government at all levels need to address, because millions of Americans cannot afford health insurance. Universal and (for some) free health insurance may be here sooner than we thought. There appears to be a trend to make health insurance mandatory as car insurance is. Mandatory health insurance would cover all of America’s approximately 43 million uninsured. It would address the problem of high health insurance costs for employers who are not hiring new employees because of such high rates.

The Costs of Public Health Insurance

Most experts say the estimated cost to provide all needy Americans with free health insurance is many billions of dollars. Federal subsidies to hospitals to treat the uninsured may end under any new plan because there would not be any uninsured. The savings could go towards providing subsidized health insurance for those in need.

The Benefits of Universal Health Insurance

Universal, mandatory health insurance could lower burdens on employers and help create jobs in America. U.S. carmakers are thought to pay about $1,300 in employee health costs to build a mid-size car in America, but practically nothing when they build it in Canada because health care system in that country provides free health care insurance. Ford Vice Chairman Allan Gilmour says that high health care costs are driving investors away from our country. If we do not address the issue of health care, we are in danger of losing our manufacturing base and many of our businesses.

If health insurance is mandatory, all Americans could be required to purchase health insurance from among private providers, with the government providing subsidies to those who need them, meaning that some people will be eligible for free or subsidized medical insurance depending on their income.

Employers now facing health care cost increases and the burden of administrative costs are cutting back or dropping coverage causing workers to feel insecure. Most workers have little or no choice of health plans and accept what their employers provide. One of the benefits of any mandatory health insurance law could be that premium costs would go down because everyone would share the insurance risk pool, including millions of healthy young people who don't have health insurance now because they don’t think they need it.

Many children, families and adults get free health insurance through state and federal sponsored medical programs based on income and family size. This coverage might be available for:

-Children under 19 years of age
-Birth control for women, men and teens
-Pregnant women
-Adults and families
-Women's health exams with mammogram and Pap test
-Adults 65 years of age and over
-Emergency health coverage for immigrants

Massachusetts Free Health Insurance

The state of Massachusetts currently requires citizens to purchase health insurance. This addresses the issue of the uninsured without forcing employers to provide health insurance to their employees. Everyone accesses the group risk pools so that sicker people will not be denied coverage. A state-sponsored clearinghouse in Massachusetts gives individuals and small businesses access to group rates.

A high percentage of the citizens in Massachusetts are uninsured and to address the issue of affordability, Massachusetts provides free health coverage for those below the poverty line; subsidies taper off as incomes rise to three times the poverty line. With individual health insurance costing about $6,000 a year and family coverage $12,000 or more, even reasonable group prices are out of reach for many.

The health insurance program for people with low incomes in Massachusetts is called Free Care. It only covers care that people get at hospitals and health centers and it is mostly for emergencies. Free Care does not pay for care at rehabilitation centers, nursing homes or doctors' offices. Immigrants in Massachusetts can get Free Care. They do not need a Social Security number. If they do not live in Massachusetts, then they can only get free care for emergency services. To apply for the Massachusetts free health insurance program, fill out an application at the hospital or health center. The application will ask if you have any health insurance, such as MassHealth or the Children's Medical Security Plan. You need to apply for Free Care once a year. If you are denied Free Care, you can appeal the decision and ask them to reconsider. To do this, send a letter complaining about the hospital's decision.

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