Healthcare is more affordable than you think

by Morgan Rubin

As college students, our lack of substantial finances has allowed us to become the masters of Top Ramen, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Pop Tarts. We realize we don’t always have the ability to pay for certain necessities, such as healthcare. Last year, it was reported that 27 percent of young people were uninsured, and that is not OK. A 19-year-old working at Subway for $8 an hour isn’t likely to pay hundreds of dollars a month on top of other expenses. Let’s face it, our healthcare system is designed to work against us. But that’s America for you.

What if I told you that you’ll be able to finally have health care coverage for as little as the monthly price of your cell phone bill? As of Oct. 1, that’s exactly what happened. The Affordable Care Act, created by President Barack Obama, will completely reshape the ability, price and quality of health care plans in relation to young adults. We will see changes on every level, from the costs of the plans, to changes in the benefits of each plan. To get an idea of how significant these changes are, here are some comparisons between the old polices and the new ones scheduled to take place next month.

THEN: If you were in college, you were able to stay on your parent’s health insurance until you were 22.

NOW: You can be covered by your parent’s plan until you’re 26, even if you’re married, financially independent and not living at home. Also, plans now cover preexisting conditions. It’s about damn time.

THEN: People would have to do tedious, extensive research when trying to find an insurance plan suitable for them.

NOW:  Since Oct.1, a new marketplace opened at healthcare.gov—or coveredca.com for California residents—that will specifically cater to health insurance plans. The goal is to make it easy for people to apply for the plans that they need. Think of it as the health care version of Wal-Mart. It’s the one-stop shopping destination for all your insurance needs. A cool feature is the ability to narrow your search down based on prices, personal needs and available subsidies.

THEN: Health insurance could cost individuals hundreds of dollars per month.

NOW:  Each state is different, but in California most health insurance plans will cost around $100 a month. Let’s be honest. If we pay this much for our cell phone bills, buying health insurance at the same price should also be a priority.

So, now you see how much we have to benefit and nothing to lose from this new health care initiative.  This means no more avoiding the hospital because you don’t think you can afford the treatment you desperately need. No more being denied treatment because you have a preexisting condition. No more worrying about finding a job with an acceptable health insurance plan. We can all finally stop risking our lives by being uninsured.

One thing I hate is when people say young adults don’t purchase health insurance plans because we feel we are “invincible.” Sure, as college students, some of us do things we wouldn’t do if we were 40 years older, but that doesn’t mean we want to pay for the consequences.

Case in point: My neighbor jumped off his third-floor balcony a few weeks of ago, because the drunken version of himself thought he was Superman. Obviously, he’s not. The theory that he didn’t get health care because he believes he has tiger blood running through his veins is insanely irrational. In fact, a recent study done by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation shows that more than 70 percent of people ages 18 to 30 view health insurance as “very important.”

The only way I see young adults not taking advantage of this amazing opportunity is a lack of awareness about the changes in health care. For some reason, the Obama administration isn’t pushing the initiative nearly enough to make an impact. Why not? I have no idea. If anything, providing young adults with health insurance is something that would bump up his approval rating by a few points, which is something he desperately needs right now. Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that it’s up to us to spread the word.

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