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Irresponsible?

An article in the Denver Post yesterday talked about the number of people age 19 to 29 without Health Insurance.

As snowboarding season approaches, so does the time of year when Katie Neal's mom really freaks out.

What bothers her mom, Neal said, is not the speed at which the 26-year-old slashes through powder.

It's that she does it without Health insurance.

Nationwide, about 13.7 million people ages 19 to 29 didn't have insurance in 2004, making them the largest group of uninsured adults in the country, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit health- research foundation.

That is true in Colorado as well, according to the Colorado Health Institute.

Young adults 19 to 29 make up 17 percent of the population but account for 30 percent of those younger than 65 who don't have health insurance, Commonwealth Fund noted in its report, "Rite of Passage? Why Young Adults Become Uninsured and How New Policies Can Help."

Neal, a server at Governor's Park tavern, knows she's not invincible.

Neal's employer does offer insurance. She just can't afford it.

"I would like to have it," Neal said.

At about $200 a month, health insurance would eat up about a quarter of Neal's monthly income.

"I'm working my way out of debt, and having another bill, I just can't do that," she said.

I'm also a snowboarder. When I graduated from college and didn't have any money, snowboarding was a lower priority than health insurance. I missed several years of it and got a bit rusty, but I didn't risk having tens of thousands more in debt from an unpaid hospital bill.

For $96/month, Neal could get a $5,000 deductible / 100% coinsurance policy from Tonik, or she could pay $77.43/month for a $5,000 deductible plan from Rocky Mountain Health Plans - like they talk about in the article.

The best deal on lift tickets in Colorado is the Buddy Pass (unlimited to Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, and Breckenridge) for $349. She might have gotten a used snowboard/bindings for around $300, and another couple hundred for gear (coat, pants, socks, gloves, etc).

There are examples out there of people who can't afford health insurance yet make too much to qualify for medicaid. But there are far too many examples of people who can afford health insurance, yet have their priorities mixed up. As Bob Vineyard from InsureBlog pointed out in today's post:

According to U.S. Census Bureau data released Monday, Americans with annual incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 per year saw the biggest increase in uninsured rates, up to 8.3 million, an increase of 600,000 people. 800,000 more people with annual incomes of over $75,000 are now uninsured.

Why are more and more people making health insurance less of a priority? If health insurance isn't mandatory, what could make it more of a priority than the consequences of not having it?


This post first appeared on Colorado Health Insurance Insider, please read the originial post: here

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