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Generic Confusion

When you leave, my blog just fades to grey
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News? Check. Politics? Check. Music? Check. Random thoughts about life? Check. Readership? Ummm.... let me get back to you on that. Updated when I feel like I have something to say, and remember to post it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I'm currently reading Tamara Draut's Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead. The book discusses how college loans, high housing costs, and child care costs combine to put today's generation in an economic bind that their parents didn't face. A full review will come once I've finished the book.

But it doesn't bode well for the book. In the introductory chapter, there's the following quote:

One out of three young adults--a full 17.9 million 18-to-34-year-olds--don't have health insurance, making this the age group with the largest percentage of uninsured. They're not going without health-care coverage out of some sense of invincibility either; in fact, only 3 percent of young workers are uninsured because they declined available coverage.

Do you see what's wrong with that quote? Think about it, and check the comments for my discussion.


At 12:03 AM, Blogger Greg said...

I'm going to assume the declined available coverage is a reference to declined available coverage through a job, because everyone has access to health insurance through private health insurance policies (or the risk pool, for the uninsurable). Unless some state has banned it, individual health insurance still exists.

An individual can have access to health insurance through three ways: through government programs (the young probably only through Medicaid), through group insurance via a job or possibly an affinity group, or through individual health insurance only. Each of those three groups can then either accept or decline coverage.

I think it goes without saying that, whether you are left or right, you want to see everyone eligible for Medicaid to take advantage of the program. We should do everything reasonably possible to sign up eligible people.

Most young people will have insurance via their jobs (or their spouses' jobs). 3% sounds about right for the portion of young people who would decline this coverage.

Both of those groups have very few people declining coverage.

Then, we get to the group where most people decline coverage: those who must get insurance from the individual market. You could split the rejecters into two groups: those who could afford coverage, but choose to go without; and those who want coverage, but can't afford it.

I suspect a large portion of the uninsured in this group look at the costs (very high), look at their risks for needing serious medical care, and decide not to make insurance a purchase priority. They take the risk. For example, I would have been just fine without health insurance coverage for the last ten years.


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