How might a decision not to buy insurance on the Obamacare exchanges play itself out? Over at Talking Points Memo, David Kurtz printed an email he received from a healthy 32 year old who has decided not to get insured. Excerpt:
I earn 55,000 a year working in a restaurant, though I have a Masters Degree. I live in Brooklyn. I earn too much to qualify for assistance with healthcare, so my premium is $308/month.
My apartment rent is $1400/month, student loans are just under $800/month, I pay around $200/month in credit card bills, $100 for a cell phone, and $50 for car insurance. Then we have food, movies, metro cards, etc, etc …
Run the numbers, where do I find room for another $308/month???
The next day Kurtz posted reactions to the original story. Many readers expressed their disgust with the Brooklynite’s email, saying it was his own bad choices that had put him in this position. He chose to rack up the student loan debt. He chose to keep his car. He chose to keep going to movies. He chose to live in an expensive neighborhood, or not to take on a roommate. Health insurance is such a fundamental need, many readers said, that he should give up any and all luxuries so that he can pay for it himself rather than leave the health insurance exchanges to the old and the sick.On the one hand, these critics have a point. Neither frugality nor money management seems to be a part of many millennials’ skill-sets, including this Brooklynite’s. On the other hand, much of the stress young adults feel when it comes to getting insurance is a result of causes that are out of their control. Many are dealing with high and rising costs of living, exploding educational costs, and a poor job market. All of these problems were caused, or made worse, by Boomers and the blue model system they supported.More important than that, young adults are feeling the brunt of a health care system gone awry. Part of the reason premiums are so expensive is because health care procedures themselves are so expensive. We need to make the health care system work more cheaply and efficiently before it eats us all alive.