Health insurance in the United States
In the United States, health insurance is any program that helps pay for medical expenses, whether through privately purchased insurance, social insurance or a social welfare program funded by the government. Synonyms for this usage include "health coverage," "health care coverage" and "health benefits."
In a more technical sense, the term is used to describe any form of insurance that provides protection against the costs of medical services. This usage includes private insurance and social insurance programs such as Medicare, which pools resources and spreads the financial risk associated with major medical expenses across the entire population to protect everyone, as well as social welfare programs such as Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provide assistance to people who cannot afford health coverage.
In addition to medical expense insurance, "health insurance" may also refer to insurance covering disability or long-term nursing or custodial care needs. Different health insurance provides different levels of financial protection and the scope of coverage can vary widely, with more than 40 percent of insured individuals reporting that their plans do not adequately meet their needs as of 2007
Health care in the United States is provided by many distinct organizations. Health care facilities are largely owned and operated by private sector businesses. 58% of US community hospitals are non-profit, 21% are government owned, and 21% are for-profit. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States spent more on health care per capita ($8,608), and more on health care as percentage of its GDP (17.2%), than any other nation in 2011.
60–65% of healthcare provision and spending comes from programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Veterans Health Administration. Most of the population under 67 is insured by their or a family member's employer, some buy health insurance on their own, and the remainder are uninsured. Health insurance for public sector employees is primarily provided by the government.
The market-based health insurance system in the United States has caused a human rights crisis that deprives a large number of people of the health care they need. The most visible problem is the 50 million people without health insurance; the most distressing is the number of preventable deaths, estimated to reach 101,000 people a year, simply due to the way U.S. health care is organized.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is intended to lower health care costs, provide more health care choices, and improve the quality of health care
Private health insurance is the main source of health coverage for the majority of people in the United States. Approximately 58% of all Americans have private health care coverage. For elderly citizens and eligible children and families from low-income households, public programs are the primary source of health cover. Public programs include Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP. TRICARE and the Veterans programs also provide some coverage.