Young and Without Health Insurance
No surprise but when you are 22 years-old you have the greatest odds of being uninsured. A recent February 2010 Gallup Health Survey shows that only 66% of Americans at age 22 have health insurance. That’s the lowest health insurance coverage of any age demographic. Why is it that this group doesn’t have a comparable percentage of health coverage as others?
Here what I think:
1) When you are 22 years-old you are often no longer eligible for your parent’s plan. By contrast roughly 84% of 18-year-olds have health coverage.
2) Many 22 year-old individuals have recently graduated from college and no longer qualify for school sponsored health insurance.
3) A large amount 22 year-old Americans find it hard to land a job that offers health insurance as a benefit.
4) Many 22 year-olds are expected to purchase health insurance for the first time. The process can be overwhelming and expensive. Many young people give up trying to purchase health insurance and just assume it’s too expensive.
Now many experts say this demographic is under insured because they don’t value health insurance. They media says this group thinks they are invincible. I’m not buying this. Young people do care about health insurance. Every young person knows someone whose last ER trip cost 1000s of dollars and they don’t want to be next. I’m sure there are many recent grads today that are stressing because they “need to get covered.” I think reasons 1-4 above explain why this group is the least likely to be insured not because they think they are supermen (or superwomen). So if you 22 all you really need is to find a individual health plan that is easy to understand, affordable and doesn’t require that you be a full time student. There are actually a few plans that fit this requirement, the most publicized is Tonik.
Here is the good news according to Gallup: From age 22 on, the percentage of individuals health insurance number begins to climb. By the time their 65, roughly 95 percent of American’s are covered. So we all have something to look forward to.
What should young people do for health insurance
My opinion is that all young people should have an HSA. That’s a health saving account. They are less expensive and allow you to put away 1000’s of dollars each year tax free. If a young person were to set up an HSA at age 22 he would save so much money on the high cost of traditional premiums that his HSA bank account would be loaded with more money than he knows what to do with. Learn more about HSA’s here.