We all tend to think we're fairly bulletproof when we're young -- who needs insurance at age 25, right?
The number of uninsured young people is on the rise according to a new study.
It's no secret that a growing number of people between 19 and 29 are foregoing health insurance. A recent report suggests a number of factors are contributing to the climb.
According to a recent study, there were 13.3 million uninsured people between the ages of 19 and 29 in 2005. At age 19, young adults are often dropped from their parents policies when they graduate high school. That means they're often left to fend for themselves if they want health insurance -- forced to extend their parents' coverage through COBRA or buy individual policies, both of which can be expensive. So they often opt out of coverage altogether.
Health insurance broker Hank Estep said, "Group health insurance has gotten so expensive that the employer either can't afford it or the employee, even though it's being offered, can't afford his or her portion of the insurance."
But the rising cost of health insurance may not be the sole reason why so many young Americans are going without it.
"I'm not saying that the cost isn't a factor to an extent, but it is not the driving reason as to why people don't have health insurance," Estep said.
A recent report suggests young people are increasingly opting out of health coverage because they think they don't need it.
Insurance broker Parks Griffin said, "A lot of the young people that don't have insurance that are young and healthy choose to spend their money on items other than health insurance."
While young adults do not experience the multitude of chronic health problems like older Americans, rejecting health insurance altogether can still pose a major risk. The report suggests 14 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 are obese, and one third of all HIV diagnoses are made among young adults. On top of that, nearly 17 percent of pregnancies occur in women between 19 and 29.
If you're a young adult who wants health insurance but wants to keep the cost down you can opt for a plan with a higher deductible or what's known as a catastrophic plan. It costs a lot less for healthy people who rarely visit the doctor but will provide coverage in the event of a major medical procedure.