As a rule, you can be insured by your employer. Large companies and universities in particular offer very good and relatively inexpensive health insurance. However, the health insurance does not include the dentist and the ophthalmologist or optician. A dental insurance or optical plan is available for this purpose.
Protection against inability for work
It is important to take out disability insurance, which pays a certain percentage of your salary if you become unable to work. This insurance is most important because the employer is often not obliged to continue paying the salary if you are ill for a longer period of time. Short-term disability insurance is for health problems lasting several weeks, and long-term disability insurance for long-term disability. These insurances are often offered by the employer and are not expensive.
Medicare and Medicaid
Medicare is a federal program that pays a large part of the treatment costs for people over 65 years of age and people with disablement of all ages. It is financed primarily from the social security tax, which is deducted from salary.
Medicaid is a joint programme of the Federal Government and the individual states and pays for part of the treatment costs for people living below the poverty line.
While most Americans have health insurance or receive benefits through one of the two programs mentioned, there are also many people who are not insured and unable to take Medicaid because of low income. These people can be treated in public hospitals in emergencies, but are particularly disadvantaged in the area of prevention and early detection.
If you have lost your job with no fault of yours, you can claim unemployment benefits. This unemployment benefit is not paid automatically, but must be applied for at the responsible state unemployment office. The conditions for entitlement, such as the amount of income and/or length of employment before loss of employment, as well as the duration and amount of unemployment benefit, depend on the provisions of the respective federal state.
In most countries, up to a certain upper limit, which can vary greatly from state to state, half of the last salary is paid for a maximum of 26 weeks.
In the USA, it is assumed that a healthy person should find a job, regardless of whether or not he or she corresponds to his or her professional qualifications. The payment of welfare benefits to able-bodied person is limited to five years in life. And as a rule you cannot be unemployed for more than two consecutive years. Social assistance is only paid to those whose income is below the poverty line and who do not have enough money for food, clothing and accommodation.
Public housing and food stamps as well as health care for children are also part of state aid measures.
Private charities financed by donations also help people (and animals) in need. Many Americans give money to such organizations.
The Social Security Administration (SSA), which issues the Social Security Card, keeps a record of every employee’s income and taxes in the USA.
To qualify as a subsequent beneficiary, you must have worked for at least ten years. The amount of social security benefits that you ultimately receive depends on how much you have paid into the fund by deducting from your salary, i.e. how long you have worked and how much you earned.
Although every American receives a state pension, private financial provision via 401(k) plan or Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is advisable for everyone who wants to have more than a minimum to live on in old age.