Approximately 15% of U.S. adults ages 18 to 64 don’t have health insurance, according to data from the most recent National Health Interview Survey. The most common reason adults cited for being uninsured was because health insurance coverage was not affordable.

“I certainly don’t blame people for choosing to forgo buying health insurance,” said Donovan Pyle, employee benefits consultant, certified health value professional and CEO of Health Compass Consulting. “Some employers and their brokers have mismanaged their plans so badly that it’s not an attractive option for their employees. Many of these employers have forced their employees into high-deductible plans making them functionally uninsured — meaning that they have health insurance but can’t afford to use it.”

But employees aren’t the only ones who may not have health insurance. Other uninsured people who are self-employed — or currently unemployed — don’t have an employer to share the cost of healthcare, which can make the coverage cost-prohibitive.

But unaffordability isn’t the only reason people are uninsured. Other reasons include not being eligible for coverage or not needing or wanting the coverage, according to the survey.

Not having health insurance is understandable, but it’s also risky. If you’re one of the currently uninsured, here’s what you need to consider to help you avoid any unpleasant care-related or financial surprises.

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