Throughout the health care and insurance industries, adults in their 20s and early 30s are often referred to as "Young Invincibles." The reason why is relatively simple: Many choose to go without coverage because they feel as though they're relatively healthy and don't need to take on the added expense. But experts say that feeling of being too healthy to need regular care is a big reason why coverage is so important.
Indeed, when young people need health care, it's not usually for low-cost preventive measures, but rather for more serious issues, according to Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, writing for The Huffington Post. Grave illnesses or accidents can happen to anyone at any time, and for young people who don't have health insurance, dealing with the issue can quickly become a costly proposition; unfortunately, it's all too easy for them to rack up medical debts of tens of thousands of dollars or more in the event of a prolonged hospitalization.
Where to begin
One of the big issues young people often cite when they don't get coverage is that they're unsure of how to do so, according to Rhode Island Public Radio. To that end, experts say it's important for people who need to buy individual coverage through the state- or federally run exchanges to seek out the help of a "navigator," whose job it is to help people sign up for coverage on Healthcare.gov and other marketplaces.
The ins and outs of what qualifies people for subsidies and every other aspect of coverage aren't always easy for the lay person to understand, but navigators can help them sort out the best plans for their needs and calculate ongoing costs, the report said.
"It really will be important to shop around because the premiums are increasing in an unusual pattern for 2018,"' Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, told RIPR. "People aren't used to that. And it really will matter to look and see what plans are available to you in your area and what they would cost you, particularly if you are eligible for subsides."
Understanding the circumstances
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has worked to reduce the amount of time people of all ages have to sign up for coverage, and that could create additional confusion, according to public radio station WBUR. The open enrollment period has been dramatically shortened, and many experts fear that people won't realize how the landscape has changed in the last year, despite all the headlines the issue has gotten in the past several months. In certain states, that could lead to many people realizing too late that they're going to have to go without coverage.
With this in mind, everyone on the insurance and care provider side of the health care industry have a role to play in educating Americans - particularly young ones - about their coverage needs and the best ways to obtain the plans they need.