Health insurance has been one of the hot button issues in American politics in the past few years. It is something that most Americans will sign up for at some point in their lives, but health insurance can be confusing to young adults who must navigate the health insurance system on their own for the first time. When we are children we think in the simplistic terms of when we get sick then we go to the doctor. We don’t even know what health insurance is and the process our parents went through to sign up for health insurance. However, young adults coming off of their parents’ health insurance plans need to have a general idea of what health insurance means.

What is health insurance?

Health insurance is a type of insurance that helps a person cover his or her medical expenses. Health insurance plans in America are often included in the benefits package that employers provide.


Health insurance might cover part of the expense or all of the expense for:

  • Routine physicals and visits to a primary care physician
  • Emergency medical treatments and emergency room visits
  • Visits to a primary care physician to diagnose or treat illness
  • Prescription medication for short term illness
  • Repeated prescriptions for chronic medical conditions or long term illness
  • Essential and non-cosmetic surgery
  • Women’s health examinations
  • Birth control options


Some health insurance plans cover costs after the insured has paid a certain amount of money toward medical expenses known as a deductible. The amount of a deductible can vary depending on the health insurance plan. Health insurance plans may also require the insured to pay a copay at the time they receive certain services. For example, a copay (often $10- $50 in cost) may be required when the insured visits a doctor’s office even if the cost of the visit is covered by health insurance. Some health insurance plans also require a copay when the insured picks up prescriptions that are covered by his health insurance plan.