Health insurance helps protect you from high medical care costs. It is a contract between you and your insurance company. You buy a plan or policy, and the company agrees to pay part of your expenses when you need medical care.
Many people in the United States get a health insurance policy through their employers. In most cases, the employer helps pay for that insurance. Insurance through employers is often with a managed care plan. These plans contract with health care providers and medical facilities to provide care for members at reduced costs. You can also purchase health insurance on your own.
People who meet certain requirements can qualify for government health insurance, such as Medicare and Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act will expand health insurance coverage for many people in the U.S. Starting in October 2013, you will be able to sign up for coverage that begins in January 2014.
References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)