(From The Campus Lantern – February 5, 2015)
Young folks often see themselves as invincible. When thinking of health insurance, our minds often drift toward older people. Young people don’t need health insurance, right? Wrong. The fact of the matter is that people of every age can get sick or injured, and healthcare is expensive for anyone who doesn’t have insurance. According to the Commonwealth Fund, nearly one in five young adults doesn’t have health insurance – we need to change this reality and make sure everyone gets covered.
Open Enrollment, which is from November 15, 2014 through February 12, 2015 this year, is the period of time in which folks are able to sign up for health insurance or change their current plans. If someone misses Open Enrollment, they may end up being charged a penalty for not having health insurance – or worse, they may have to wait until next year to sign up. Health Insurance Marketplaces are places in which folks go to find information about health insurance, as well as to compare and buy plans. The marketplaces can be accessed online at Healthcare.gov, in person at a location near you, or over the phone. Connecticut’s online marketplace can be found at accesshealthCT.com.
Options for health insurance coverage depend on several factors, such as your age, state, and income level. One option that is convenient for many young folks is to stay on your parent’s plan until you are 26 years of age. Another option is Medicaid coverage, depending on what your income level is and what state you reside in – former foster youth are granted Medicaid coverage until they are 26 years old. Some employers provide health insurance to their employees, and Eastern and other universities provide health insurance for students as well. Finally, you can purchase your own insurance plan at Healthcare.gov.
One of the negative aspects of health insurance is how costly it can be. Thankfully, folks who don’t think they can afford coverage can fill out applications on their state’s Health Insurance Marketplace website to find out if they are eligible for low-cost coverage.
January 29th was National Youth Enrollment Day, which is sponsored by Young Invincibles (YI). YI is a national, non-partisan organization that aims to amplify the voices of young adults ages 18 to 34. The organization seeks to expand economic opportunities for young folks by improving their health care access, college access, and job opportunities. On National Youth Enrollment Day, events were hosted all across the country to help young people get the information they need to get covered.
There are still a few more days to sign up for health insurance before the February 12th deadline. To learn more about the importance of health insurance for young adults, Young Invincibles’ “Healthy Young America Playbook” can be accessed online at this link: http://bit.ly/1t9EhAF. All of the above information was compiled from the Playbook.