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Health insurance is an important way to manage medical expenses and protect your health. By paying a monthly premium, health insurance companies agree to pay most of the costs associated with your medical care. However, even the most generous health insurance plans require you to pay some expenses out-of-pocket, such as copays and deductibles. These amounts represent the money you will be required to pay to a medical professional before your insurer begins to pay.

The Affordable Care Act requires health insurance plans to be organized by level of coverage. There are three main levels of coverage: catastrophic, minimum essential coverage, and essential health benefits. Although all plans cover the same essential health benefits, the premiums and out-of-pocket costs vary. Those with lower incomes can choose a catastrophic plan to save money.

In addition, health insurance has been shown to improve access to preventive services. Studies have found that people with health insurance are more likely to receive preventive services, such as screenings, than those without health insurance. Furthermore, insurance policies with more comprehensive coverage are associated with better health outcomes. For example, men with insurance plans are less likely to experience cardiovascular disease than those without them.

When choosing a health insurance plan, it is important to consider how you will use it. Public insurance plans are often available at very low or no cost. Medicaid, for example, is a government-run program that is designed to cover the costs of certain health services for low-income Americans. However, the rules for eligibility vary by state. Also, Medicare covers many Americans over age 65 or with a disability, but it is important to note that Medicare does not cover all medical expenses.