From the time that the Affordable Care Act was first launched through Healthcare.gov in October 2013, the plan’s designers were terrified that young Americans wouldn’t sign up for health insurance.
A massive campaign was launched specifically targeting young people – particularly the millions of students whose participation the law couldn’t work without.
But do students really benefit from getting covered? The short answer is “yes,” but that’s only evident after looking into some of the most common arguments they make against getting health insurance.
It costs more to get covered than to not get coverage
As discussed in the article “5 Health Insurance Tips for College Graduates,” the economic logic students often use against getting covered doesn’t hold water. There are financial penalties for not getting covered, and it’s true that those penalties cost less than many insurance plans. But the fines increase over time. In fact, the earlier in life you sign up, the less insurance will cost down the road.
It’s too hard to find coverage
First of all, you can hitchhike on your parents’ insurance until the ripe old age of 26.
You can coast on your parents’ plan even if you don’t live with them, even if you’re married, even if you’re not a dependent, even if you’re eligible through an employer’s plan and even if you are or aren’t attending school. If you don’t have parents or they don’t want you on their plan or you don’t want to be on their plan, there is no age group that is easier to insure than young people.
I’m young, healthy and invincible
If invincibility had an opposite, it would be teenagers and young adults. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control, three quarters of all deaths among young people are from injuries and violence.
Young people sustain a hugely disproportional amount of accidental injuries. They cause and are the victims of a wildly disproportional amount of injuries and deaths from motor vehicle accidents.
Young people shoot and stab each other more than anyone else, they fall more and they represent a disproportionate number of alcohol and drug related injuries, accidents and illnesses.
Yes. The flu is more dangerous for grandma, but you’re more likely to require expensive medical attention than virtually anyone else.
The new healthcare law requires the participation of young people to function – but that’s not why they should get covered.
They should get covered because without health insurance, they are exposed to catastrophic financial repercussions if they require even modest medical treatment, which is likely because – whether they know it or not – they are in a high-risk group.
About the Author: Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer who covers business and personal health insurance.