Being 26: Do You Need Health Insurance?
In the last 26 years, the cost of the hospital healthcare and doctor visits have jumped about 3.5 times while drug costs have increased almost 7 times. A person turning 26 this year was born around 1992. According to KFF figures, hospital spending in 1992 in the US was 298.5 billion dollars as opposed to 1,082.5 billion dollars in 2016. Physicians and clinics accounted for 190.2 billion dollars as opposed to 664.9 billion dollars in 2016. Prescription drugs cost 47 billion dollars in 1992 compared to 328.6 billion dollars in 2016.
Under the ACA, young people can stay on their parent’s health insurance plans until they are 26. When they need to buy plans, the cost of healthcare can produce major sticker shock. It may be entirely unaffordable. Young people need to consider both the cost of insurance, the premium, and the cost of care, your co-insurance.
One in five young people ages 18 to 36 cannot afford routine health care. It is not surprising that 7 out of 10 young people think of cost as being very important when choosing healthcare. Many young people go without health care between jobs. Many forego medical care while uninsured.  Under these circumstances, planning for pregnancy becomes increasingly critical.
Many people assume that, because they are healthy, they will not need insurance. However, young people have pregnancies and unexpectedly serious medical conditions occurring during pregnancy and childbirth, mental health issues, and accidents. Any of these can be financially catastrophic and impact a lifetime’s finances.
Although the number of young people left uninsured has declined under the ACA, nobody knows how the destabilization of insurance premiums and coverage during the Trump administration will affect people. And, although the fees for going without health insurance are currently a factor in many people’s planning, the quickly escalating cost of medical care can wipe anyone out. The least effective option is doing without insurance to try to save money.
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