Monday, September 18, 2006

New life, no insurance

Adult children riding piggyback on parents' coverage

Young adults (ages 19 to 29) are one of the largest and fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population without health insurance. Nearly 14 million lacked coverage in 2004, an increase of 2.5 million since 2000. Many of the uninsured are recent graduates.

Today's college and high school graduates face two problems that their parents did not encounter 25 years ago. A wide variety of occupations now involve large numbers of people with no choice but to be self-employed consultants or to obtain work through temp agencies or contract houses. At least 20 million workers - one-seventh of the American workforce - are self-employed or working on contract. More and more firms are relying on these non-permanent but often long-term relationships with workers to get specific tasks done. A major reason is to avoid paying for health insurance and other benefits.

Several states are extending the time that children can be a dependent for insurance purposes. According to the New York Times, children in several states can now stay on their parents' health insurance plans well into their 20s.

Related: Boston Globe

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Ian Lidster said...

I noticed a story today that was somewhat related and that concerned the killing of health plans and other benefits for pensioned retirees. The problem is, of course, that these plans are so costly many smaller employers can no longer afford them. Anyway, my dear, as a self-employed freelancer I get no such plan except what I pay for.
The insurance business has little to feel noble about.

Your friend,

Deb S. said...

Ian: That's a shame about the pensioned retirees. There is a downside to being a self-employed freelancer, isn't it?

By the way, it's amazing how so many companies want to hire recent grads for contract or temporary work, not as full-time employees with benefits.

Shirazi said...

As per one definition and what I think is logical, "Children should be on parents load as long as they are dependent on parents." In this part of the world it is till the girls get married and or the boy gets a job; though there is no written law or official health covergae.

Hasan Mubarak said...

As Shirazi mentioned it, we, here don't have any wide spread concept of health insurance.

This segment of society in the US, may be, doesn't have to worry about health issues, atleast for the benefits of being young and active...

Deb S. said...

Shi: I think the way your culture handles this situation is great.

Hasan: Ideally, young adults shouldn't have to be concerned about health issues. However, I think it's risky for anyone to be uninsured. One never knows what might happen. Heaven forbid if some sort of accident happens.

It's very expensive to pay for medical care out-of-pocket in the U.S. I took a young relative to the emergency room recently because he was ill and had no heath insurance. The bill was nearly $500.

I think that if we want our young people to remain healthy - to practice preventive medicine by getting annual medical exams, for example - we need to make sure that our young adults are insured.

As always, thanks for stopping by. :-)