A few weeks ago I saw a page on Facebook called Young Invincibles. It was posted by a friend, so I had a look. It led me to younginvincibles.org. Basically, the purpose of the site is to encourage young people to take advantage of a provision that began 9/23/10 in the new Healthcare Law that requires employers to cover children under their parents' plan up to age 26.
It's no secret that I am not a fan of Government intervention in healthcare. This made me curious however, and I began to think back to my own experiences up to age 26. I graduated in 1994 at age 18 and began to work, choosing not to attend college. I worked mainly minimum wage jobs up to age 21 when I got my Commercial Driver's License. None of the jobs I had until I started driving provided any health coverage at all. Had I chosen to attend college, I would have been covered under my Dad's plan. It never crossed my mind. Ever. I was 'young and invincible.' I get that. Young people do not consider their need for healthcare until that age when they begin to recognize their mortality. Most of that realization comes with experience i.e. marriage, children, or getting the first 'real job.'
I choose the free market, and if we actually had a free and open market for healthcare I would choose it in a heartbeat over anything we have in place today. Having been in positions over the last few years where I have been a contractor not working directly for an employer that provided health coverage, I have experience of applying for and providing my own healthcare.
Wow, Ohio and West Virginia really are different!
My first foray into buying individual health coverage was while living in Ohio in 2008. I was looking for temporary coverage while I was in a 90 day waiting period where I had changed employers. I received a quote and signed up for an HSA (Health Savings Account) plan. It had a $5000 deductible, did not cover maternity, had no co-insurance, no co-pays, and no prescription card. The premiums for our family of 3 was to be about $250 per month. We had to cover the things mentioned above, but 100% percent over the $5000 was covered. It was like car insurance. It doesn't cover your oil changes, tires, or maintenance, but if you drive it into a tree you're covered - catastrophic coverage. I could have bought a 'Cadillac plan' but couldn't justify the additional premium when even with a small child, we just don't go to the doctor that often. (There is a Minute Clinic at the CVS Pharmacy we would go to that was just $59 if you needed a prescription - MUCH cheaper than going to see a Doc.)
Fast-forward to 2009 in West Virginia. After the move, I was again in a position working as a contractor where no health coverage was provided. Leaning on past experience, I pick up the phone for a quick quote. WV is smaller, so I did expect a little bump in premium was I was not prepared for what I got. Same coverage as before, same family, 150 miles away - $800 a month. EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS! $800 for the cheapest piece-of-crap plan available! That was the beginning of a slow and painful end of our time in WV. In pretty short order I was on the job hunt and we were headed back to the Buckeye State (for more reasons than just healthcare). Sidenote: WV has 'private' Workers' Compensation insurance. It's voluntary. I got a quote on it, and for a guy making less than $40,000 (me) my premium would have been over $8000 per year. Needless to say, there was no Work Comp for me.
Back to the Young Invincibles
So I'm chatting yesterday with my Insurance Agent, and we're discussing the news of the day and some election results. The sentiment is pretty much the same from both of us - Not much is different. After watching Tammy Faye Boehner's victory speech we both think we're all still pretty much screwed. Then we got to healthcare.
I ask - "Have you ever had an 18-26 year old come in your office and request a quote for an Individual Health Plan?"
Him - "Nope. Not once that I can think of."
And the wheels begin turning....
Me - "I am really curious to know what a plan like that would cost. What would it cost an 18-24 year old to buy an individual policy?"
I hear rapid-fire pointing and clicking over the phone. "Point here...click....20 years old....1990...click...plan...coverage..." he mumbled while searching.
"$54 a month." He said confidently.
I almost crashed my truck. "WHAT?!! $54 a month? You have got to be kidding me!"
He says, "That's a $3000 HSA plan. A $5000 HSA is $40, a $2500 plan is $60, and full plan with $25 Co-pays, 20% CO-insurance, a drug card, and a $500 deductible is $133 a month!"
We both agreed that the cost of any of these plans are equal to much less money than the average college student will spend on PIZZA and BEER.
Clicking on part of the Young Invincibles site takes you to Getting Covered. They proudly state on the front page, "I WON'T LET THEM TAKE HEALTH CARE AWAY FROM OUR GENERATION!"
Now I'm pissed. You can provide your OWN coverage for less than you'll spend on whores, pizza, and beer, but now your parents and you parent's employers have to pick up the tab? It's called personal responsibility, you should try it sometime. Go buy a policy and shut up. I'll not have you using a bully Federal Government to use my tax dollars to provide for your lazy butts.
That should about do it.