Anyone who has ever shopped for private health insurance knows that it can be pricey, but many people still opt to purchase it because they feel that the benefits of having private health insurance are worth the fees associated with it. Having private health insurance is kind of like flying first class. Flying first class is about luxury and ease. Extra room to stretch your legs and free cocktails mean flying first class make you feel like, well, first class. Expedience also makes flying first class the wonderful experience that it is. You get to check in at your own special spot ahead of everyone flying economy class and you get to board and exit the plane before everyone else. Of course, those fancy cocktails really aren’t free and neither are your trips to the front of the boarding lines. You already paid for them when you paid for your flight.


Comparing flying first class to private health insurance may seem like a bit of a stretch but it’s really not, at least in theory.  Flying first class gives you options that you don’t necessarily receive when flying coach. In many cases, you have the option to watch a movie with headphones that are provided for you, work on your laptop, or recline back and take a nap. Deciding how to spend your time while in flight is arguably not as important as issues that relate to your health, but just like flying first class, more options are available to you when you own private health insurance.  When you own private health insurance, you have the option to choose how you receive your medical care by selecting your doctor, the hospital, and the type of room you want. These types of options aren’t available to those who rely solely on Medicare.  Without private health insurance, the government decides these things for you.


When you own private health insurance, the amount of time that you have to wait for medical care decreases greatly when your condition isn’t life threatening or when you are opting for an elective procedure. For those on Medicare, this means that they often have to wait for medical care while experiencing pain and discomfort. When you have private health insurance, you don’t have to “wait in line” and are able to receive medical attention almost immediately.


Just like those fancy cocktails and extra bag of nuts that you receive when you fly first class, you also get extra benefits when you have private health insurance that you don’t necessarily receive when you are on Medicare. Dental, chiropractic, optical, and other specialized services aren’t readily available to Medicare recipients. These services are only available to Medicare recipients when they either absorb the whole expense or when the service is necessary for a life threatening condition but at a percentage of the cost.

It can be difficult to justify to paying for private health insurance to yourself just like it can be difficult to justify first class plane tickets. No matter how much you hate being crammed next to strangers on a flight like a bunch of sardines, the extra costs for flying first class can direct you straight back to coach.

Medicare definitely has its place when it comes to helping people receive affordable medical care but because the system is underfunded and overused, people are not always receiving adequate care in a timely manner. Politics aside, what you need to consider, is how to best take care of you and your families medical needs.

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Dennis Aimes is a freelance writer with a passion for health and a fascination with the health care system. He currently writes for the health insurance specialists at HBF.

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