There is no such thing as universal free health care In America, so it is essential that anyone who is planning to emigrate to the country takes out their own private health insurance – especially if you, or any of your family members, do not have a job to go to straight away. Failure to do so could leave you facing some extremely large bills for any treatment you receive – no matter how minimal (or important) this care might be.
A major injury could easily lead to someone who is uninsured having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to receive treatment, while some people with serious illnesses who don’t have health insurance may be denied treatment altogether. While federal law mandates public access to emergency services regardless of a person’s ability to pay, this isn’t to say that patients will not be charged for the services they have received later down the line. Again, the cost of this emergency treatment will not be cheap.
Just over half of Americans are insured for healthcare by their employer. However, the degree of cover that you will receive will vary dramatically depending on the employer, and you will ideally need to check that you are fully covered at all times. If your employer does not provide healthcare insurance (or you do not have full coverage) then you will need to use a private provider.
There are numerous healthcare insurers in the US, with the three largest being United Healthcare, Wellpoint Group and the Kaiser Foundation.
In 2013, the average monthly premium for a single person buying health insurance was US$235.27 while for a family it was over US$1,000 – although this varys greatly depending on the state in which you live.
The US government, however, does fund healthcare for some people, including the elderly, disabled, children, veterans, and some extremely poor families or individuals. However, as an expat who has chosen to make the US their home, it is highly unlikely that you will qualify for any free healthcare.