Young invincibles myths and coverage on parents’ policies

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Today’s NY Times has a great article outlining the struggle of uninsured young adults to get health coverage. They describe the difficulty of living in an expensive city working at low wage jobs that don’t offer benefits. Coping strategies include sharing medications, jury rigging insulin injections, self-diagnosing using on-line sources, and giving up fast food to stay healthy. In October, Alanna Boyd, a 28 year old receptionist, was hospitalized 46 hours for a digestive illness; her bill is $17,398. She commented, “I could have gone to a major university for a year. Instead I went to the hospital for two days.” New York’s Governor has proposed allowing children to stay on their parents’ health benefits to age 29.
As of Jan. 1st of this year, unmarried children living in CT can now stay on their parents’ employer-sponsored health policies until age 26; they don’t have to be in school or living at home. Parents will have to pay taxes on the value of benefits for non-dependent children, but it can be a significant bargain compared to individual coverage. For more info, go to our Consumer Health Action Network tip sheet on the subject. For a list of all our tip sheets, in English and Spanish, click here.
Ellen Andrews