NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 6, 2010

For young adults, many of whom do not have health insurance coverage, the health care reform bill will add a new and costly expense into their budgets, says

  • For the first time ever, the federal government is going to require that everybody obtain health insurance coverage.
  • For those who have insurance through their employers, the so-called individual mandate may have very little impact.
  • But for young adults, many of whom are not currently covered, the health care bill will add a new and costly expense to their budgets.

"The Census Bureau tells us there are 18 million people between the ages of 18 and 35 who are uninsured -- roughly half of the uninsured population are younger people in that age group," says Anne Kim, with the non-profit think tank Third Way.

The individual mandate has teeth to it, and anyone who refuses to get coverage will be fined under the health care package, says

  • In the Senate bill, the fines start low at $95 a year in 2014, and they eventually rise to between $750 and $2,250, depending on the income of the person being fined.
  • In the House bill, the fine is calculated as 2.5 percent of the income of the person being penalized.

The federal government wants to require young, healthy people to buy insurance because if they don't, premiums for everyone else will go up.  Insurance companies need low-maintenance, young customers on their rolls so they can raise money to cover benefits for less-healthy people the health care bill will require them to insure, says

"If you charge people a fair price, then a 50-to-60-year-old should pay about six times as much as a 20-year-old," says John C. Goodman, President, CEO and the Kellye Wright Fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis.  But he notes that the Senate bill says older people can be charged only three times as much; the House bill says they can be charged two times as much.  "So we're going to penalize low-income young people in order to lower the premiums for older wealthier people."

Source: Report, "Health Care Countdown: Young People Could Bear Brunt of Insurance Mandate,", January 5, 2010.

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