Health Insurance (Kids)
It is common for young adults who are blessed with good health to believe that they do not need to carry health insurance. Some young adults believe in health myths such as: Only old people get sick; my parents are in good health, so I don't have to worry about my health for a long time.
For others, their parents have always had employer sponsored health insurance, so they believe they should wait until they have a job that provides health insurance. These beliefs lead them to put health insurance on a back burner. For some, they know they should own it and have the funds to pay monthly premiums, but it's not a high priority. Other young adults have no concept of how health insurance works, how to buy it, or why they should own it. Perhaps they have not had a discussion with an older adult of influence who shared with them the importance of having health insurance, regardless of age.
In 2007, of the young adults in our country (ages 18-24), 28.1 percent of this group did not have health insurance coverage. This statistic made this group the least likely of any age group to have health insurance. This information was in the 2007 U. S. Census Bureau report, published in August of 2008.
The reality is that young adults do get sick. And it's not just strep throat or the flu. They can develop life-threatening illnesses that require sophisticated and costly tests, long hospitalizations, and long-term courses of treatment and/or therapy. An average of once a month, I am informed of a young adult who has experienced a major illness. Some of these individuals have health insurance, some don't. Those who don't are saddled with enormous debt for their care. They know they will be making payments for several years to the providers, or they will have to borrow money from family or a bank to get the bills paid within months.
Buying health insurance for a young adult is relatively inexpensive. They can purchase a plan of short term insurance which will cover them for up to six months. This is the ideal solution when between graduation and the first job or between jobs for short periods of time. Plans of permanent health insurance can be purchased, to be held for an indefinite period of time. These cost more, but are the ideal choice if it is unlikely that the individual will be seeking or finding employment with an employer who will likely offer health insurance to employees.
There are many options available spanning a wide range of cost, and I will be the first to admit that the plans are not easy to understand and sort through. Talk to an insurance advisor about the various options. When purchasing, be sure that you are buying genuine health insurance and not just a discount program. These discount plans are like having a band aid when a tourniquet is needed at the time of a major health care issue.
Parents, talk to your young adult children. Encourage them to buy health insurance and assist them with the process, if necessary. You might give some thought to helping them pay for this coverage while they are looking for a job that will enable them to keep it in the future. These times are tough for most. Don't let them become tougher for your young adult children by their being burdened with avoidable health care debt.
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