Twentysomethings in low-paying jobs with no health coverage are taking up the slack with self-diagnosis and treatment, a potentially dangerous practice that may seem unavoidable. Many say they face a choice between buying insurance and making rent—and they're opting for the latter. "They’re new to the work force, they’ve been covered under their parents or school plans, and then they drop off the cliff," one expert tells the New York Times.
More than half of states permit parents to claim children under 30 as dependents for insurance purposes, a measure New York is considering. With the economy cratering, the need is increasingly urgent. "For a lot of people, it’s a choice between being able to survive in New York and getting health insurance," says a young actress. "There was no way that I could pay my rent, buy insurance, and eat."