Are you one of the thousands of people in the United States that doesn't have health insurance? Are you thinking that you can go without it, mainly because you feel like you are in good health? Or maybe you feel like you can't afford to add another payment to your monthly budget. While this may be true, there are a number of risks that are associated with not having health insurance. Sure, you could go for years without having a major medical issue, but one emergency could land you in the hospital for an extended period of time. So what are some of the risks of going without health insurance?

Health Risks

Risking their health is one of the biggest challenges that a person without health insurance can take. Imagine that you are in severe pain, and all your online searches have told you it sounds like your appendix has ruptured. Or maybe you have a lump in your breast that you are concerned about. Do you take the chance that it is something more minor, or do you go to the emergency room?  If you stay at home, you run the risk that the problem could be much worse, and it could lead to other health issues that could become fatal.

Financial Risks

If you choose to go to the doctor or emergency room, you are looking at paying out of pocket for all your healthcare costs. If you have a condition that requires continuing treatment or hospitalization, you could be looking at a bill that could reach six figures. Individuals without health insurance will also face a penalty at tax time based on changes outlined in the Affordable Care Act.

Risks to Other People

Of course, you are not the only one at risk if you are going without medical care due to a lack of health insurance. If you come down with a contagious condition such as the flu, you are putting those around you at risk as well. While most contagious conditions will eventually heal on their own, going without medication or a doctor's care can result in a prolonged healing time, making you contagious to those around you for a longer amount of time.

What You Can Do

Believe it or not, there are places that you can get affordable health insurance. If you are low income, try contacting your local Department of Human Services office to see if you qualify for any type of state insurance. You can also talk to your human resources department at your employer to see what insurance options are available. If your employer doesn't offer health insurance, try shopping on the Healthcare Exchange that was created as a part of the Affordable Care Act. You may qualify for payment assistance or subsidies to offset the out of pocket costs for health insurance.