Debunking the Myth of Free Health Insurance in the USA

  1. There is no universal healthcare. The U.S. government does not provide health benefits to citizens or visitors. Any time you get medical care, someone has to pay for it.
  2. Healthcare is very expensive. According to a U.S. government website if you break your leg, you could end up with a bill for $7,500. If you need to stay in the hospital for three days, it would probably cost about $30,000.
  3. Most people in the U.S. have health insurance. Health insurance protects you from owing a lot of money to doctors or hospitals if you get sick or hurt. To get health insurance, you need to make regular payments (called “premiums”) to a health insurance company. In exchange, the company agrees to pay some, or all, of your medical bills. Learn more about health insurance.
  4. You will get most of your care from your “primary care provider” (PCP). After you buy health insurance, you can choose a PCP who is part of your insurance company’s network. If you buy an MIT health insurance plan, you can choose a PCP at MIT Health. Your new PCP could be a nurse practitioner or a physician. You will see your PCP when you need a physical exam or lab test, when you are sick, or if you need care for an ongoing condition, like diabetes or high blood pressure. Learn more about PCPs.
  5. You will usually need an appointment to get medical care. If you want to see your PCP, you will need to call your PCP’s office to make an appointment. When you call, you need to explain why you need the appointment. If you are sick or hurt, you will get an appointment very soon. If you just need a routine physical exam, you might have to wait several weeks or even a month. Learn more about appointments.

In the United States, health insurance is often a topic of both confusion and controversy. With a complex healthcare system and a myriad of insurance options, it’s easy for individuals, especially those unfamiliar with the intricacies of the system, to believe that health insurance in the USA is completely free. However, the reality is far from this perception.

The Illusion of Free Healthcare:

Many people around the world assume that in countries like the USA, where healthcare services are provided through a mix of private and public systems, citizens enjoy free healthcare coverage. This misconception stems from a lack of understanding about the nuances of the US healthcare system.

Unveiling the Cost Structure:

Health insurance in the United States operates on a predominantly private model, where individuals, families, and employers pay premiums to insurance companies in exchange for coverage. While some individuals may receive health insurance through government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, the majority of Americans obtain coverage through their employers or by purchasing plans from private insurers.


Premiums represent the amount of money individuals or employers pay to insurance companies to maintain health insurance coverage. These premiums can vary significantly depending on factors such as age, location, coverage level, and the insurance provider.


In addition to premiums, health insurance plans often come with deductibles, which are the out-of-pocket expenses individuals must pay before their insurance coverage kicks in. Deductibles can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars annually, depending on the plan.

Co-payments and Coinsurance:

Even after meeting the deductible, individuals may still be responsible for co-payments and coinsurance. Co-payments are fixed amounts paid for each medical service or prescription medication, while coinsurance represents a percentage of the total cost of healthcare services that individuals must cover out-of-pocket.

Employer-Sponsored Insurance:

Many Americans receive health insurance coverage through their employers. While employers often subsidize a portion of the premium costs, employees are typically required to contribute a portion of their wages towards premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Government Programs:

Government-sponsored healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid provide coverage to certain segments of the population, including the elderly, low-income individuals, and people with disabilities. While these programs offer valuable support, they are funded through taxpayer dollars and are not entirely free.


Medicare is a federal health insurance program primarily for individuals aged 65 and older, as well as certain younger individuals with disabilities. While Medicare provides significant coverage for healthcare services, beneficiaries may still face out-of-pocket costs for premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance.


Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides health coverage to low-income individuals and families. While Medicaid covers a wide range of medical services, eligibility criteria vary by state, and beneficiaries may still be responsible for certain costs such as co-payments.

The Uninsured Population:

Despite the existence of various insurance options, millions of Americans remain uninsured due to factors such as high costs, lack of eligibility, or personal choice. For the uninsured, accessing healthcare services often means facing significant financial barriers and potential medical debt.

You can bring your child to Urgent Care. However, a pediatric clinician is not always available, so you should call 617-253-1311 before coming in with your child.  

If you don’t want to come in to Urgent Care, you have a few other options: 

The notion of free health insurance in the United States is a myth. While government programs like Medicare and Medicaid provide coverage to certain populations, the majority of Americans obtain health insurance through private insurers or employer-sponsored plans, all of which come with associated costs such as premiums, deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance. Understanding the complexities of the US healthcare system is essential for individuals to make informed decisions about their healthcare coverage and financial well-being. As discussions about healthcare reform continue, addressing the challenges of affordability and accessibility remains a crucial priority in ensuring that all Americans have access to quality healthcare without facing financial hardship.

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