Young Adults Will Pay Steep Price for Health Reform

Insurance will be cheaper, but not cheap, and they'll be forced to buy it
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2009 6:22 AM CDT
President Barack Obama pauses during a health insurance reform rally, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009, in Minneapolis.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
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(Newser) – Young adults are the demographic most firmly behind President Obama and health care reform, but they may also end up funding a disproportionate share of it, the Washington Post reports. Requiring young adults to sign up for health insurance is a key part of reform plans, as it will ensure low-cost additions to the insurance pool who will effectively subsidize their older, sicker counterparts.

The reforms will help the estimated 10 million uninsured Americans aged 19 to 26 find inexpensive plans, but many of them—dubbed the "young invincibles" by insurance firms—have decided that they either don't need insurance or would rather spend the cash elsewhere. All the plans on the table require all adults to sign up for at least minimal coverage, meaning health insurance is likely to become a significant new expense for many under-30s—assuming they don't just opt to pay a penalty for not having it. With proposed penalties set at $750 or $950, that may be less than the cheapest plan's price tag.