According to Cavanaugh, the majority of those young adults have been eligible for subsidies. An earlier government study found that about half of young adults nationwide are eligible for a basic plan that costs $50 a month or less. But that does not include Brian Loughnane, who was aging out of his parent’s plan. He works for a tech startup that doesn’t offer insurance. "I was a completely new entrant into the marketplace so I didn’t really have an idea of what I would be paying," he says.
Loughnane found a mid-level silver plan at full cost for $205 a month. Analysts like Coleman, with HealthPocket, worry that might be too much for young people and keep them from signing up for coverage. For Loughnane, it’s worth it even though he’s healthy. He wants coverage, in part because he saw how important insurance was for his girlfriend.
"She had cancer and she beat it,” Loughnane says. “That’s a situation where without health insurance, you’re going to get into debt for the rest of your life."
The $200 a month plan was easy sell: “That’s less than half of what I pay each month for groceries, I have other expenses too, but for my health I’m absolutely willing to pay that."
This story is part of a reporting partnership among WHYY, NPR and Kaiser Health News.
Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Tue, Mar 18 2014