Do you still have to wait to build up health with a paid subscription? That is the sort of thing that will drive me nuts.
Yes. Health system is independent from subscribing to "Duolingo Plus" or not.
Duolingo Plus does only two things (at the moment, at least):
- let you download for offline use existing(°) units
- get rid of ads.
In addition, by subscribing, you're helping Duolingo financially.
(°) "existing units" as in "it'll not give you access to extra content".