The Evolution of Health Insurance

Health insurance for individuals was first developed in the early part of the 20th Century. Hospitals began offering patients a pre-paid service in the 1920's and it meant patients could pay upfront for any future medical costs or hospital stays. By the 1930's the Blue Cross organization was formed. The Blue Cross is now made up of 39 authorities who are thought to provide insurance plans to over 100 million American citizens.

During its initial stages health providers involved with the Blue Cross were only able to offer a service by which a small premium was paid yearly for hospital care or a fixed amount for specific diseases. Now it has evolved into a major service provider and most companies can offer individual insurance plans which cover emergency procedures, preventative medicines and also the routine cost of the majority of prescription drugs. Although not all companies will cover all services, comprehensive coverage should cover the majority of all costs associated with medical care.

Individual insurance is the primary source of coverage for most American citizens and nearly 60 percent of the population have it in some form or another. Public programs make up the remaining, which is primarily for low-income families and senior citizens who meet the criteria.

After recent health reforms made by the government in 2010 a new act which is thought will be in effect by 2014 means that every American must be suitably insured or they face having to pay a fine. This is in response to the public dissatisfaction with the private insurance companies which have been raising premiums for those with pre-existing medical conditions to excessive rates and excluding some from being covered. Now under the new policy it means that health insurance for individuals is to be made available to all and insurance providers should not discriminate or charge elevated premiums for those with pre-existing medical conditions. However the government also announced that by allowing all citizens to partake in having health insurance they would now have to have it by law.

Although health insurance is namely described as something that covers medical expenses there are other forms of health insurance for individuals that cover other areas of health. It could include but is not limited to, coverage for disability income, dental, accidental death or injury and vision insurance, although major medical insurance is still considered to be the most common form of coverage purchased.

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