An Orange County Register editorial opines that many young Americans, when faced with the choice of buying health insurance or paying a penalty, may opt not to purchase coverage.
According to the editorial, “Although proponents of the law argue that subsidies will entice younger people to buy insurance, it actually is expected to have the inverse effect. Subsidies are too small, and out-of-pocket costs for insurance are much higher.”
The article goes on to say that “For many young Americans, it makes more sense – although it has negative impacts on the overall health care system – to wait until they are very sick to purchase insurance, since they can’t be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition – or to seek to qualify for so-called “free” insurance, such as Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California).
“And the penalty alternative is so much less expensive than the cost of health insurance that the majority of people purchasing insurance figure to be older and less healthy. Younger Americans won’t want – or won’t be able to afford – to spend so much on health care. It will be young, healthy Americans, therefore, who will tend to become the losers.
“‘If young adults can’t afford health insurance policies available in 2014 under the health care law, state insurance officials are worried they won’t buy them. And that could drive up the cost of insurance for the mostly older, sicker people who do purchase coverage,’ notes Kaiser Health News…”
To learn more about factors driving health insurance premiums, visit ahip.org/affordability.