You’re 27 and employed, but you’re not raking in the dough. You’ve always been healthy, so the fact that you don’t have health insurance isn’t a big deal to you. Now, though, you’re hearing something about a “congressional mandate” to buy health insurance.
The health insurance industry considers you a member of the “Young Invincible” demographic (whether you realize it or not). Like many of the rest of the people in your demographic, you’ve decided that you don’t want to shell-out a few thousand dollars a year for health insurance because you usually don’t go to the doctor, and the cost just isn’t worth it. After all, that’s your prerogative, right?
According to reports, among the millions of Americans in your demographic, one in three is uninsured. Who you are or why you don’t want to spend money on health insurance really doesn’t matter.
Maybe you’re waiting tables, saving up some money so you can travel before you start grad school. Or you’re a personal trainer and you want to put some dollars away so you can start your own business. You could be overseas for a few months, and health insurance in the United States won’t do you any good, anyhow. You might even need to pinch every penny so you can buy an engagement ring for your girlfriend. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided to risk not having health insurance because there are other priorities that you would rather spend money on.
With the passage of the Senate health care bill, you no longer have that choice (unless you’d like to violate the law and pay a $750 fine, leaving you poorer and without insurance). Regardless of how healthy you are and how you’d like to spend your money, Congress plans on forcing you to buy health insurance.
No one is really sharing that information with you, though. Sure, there has been a lot of talk of the “congressional mandate” to buy health insurance and how it’s unconstitutional, but no one is telling you how much it’s going to cost, and no one is giving you an explanation.
Well, here’s a general idea, but it varies based on who you are and where you live. (Note that the following estimates are based on preliminary calculations by The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis):
Right now, a single 27-year-old living in Fairfax County, VA, can log-on to ehealthinsurance.com and purchase a health savings account for $103 per month or $1,236 per year (that gives you a $2,700 deductible, 0% coinsurance, in a PPO). That’s a mouthful.
Under the new health care exchange in the Senate bill, that same 27-year-old would have to pay $2,648 per year for mandatory health insurance. That’s $1,412 more expensive than the plan they could purchase online today (if they so chose).
To be fair, the 27-year-old may qualify for a subsidy to help pay for insurance which, on average, would cover about half of the premium, leaving their out-of-pocket cost at $1,324. That’s just about the same cost of the plan they could buy on ehealthinsurance.com, but frankly, that’s not the point.
That $1,324 is money that 27-year-old never wanted to spend. So why should they have to pay it? Why is Congress forcing them to pay for that insurance? They face a new mandate to buy health insurance in order to pay for older, sicker people who are in the same insurance pool. Those older Americans cost more money to insure, and the government needs younger, less expensive individuals to foot the bill.
In other words, Obamacare is being balanced on the backs of the Young Invincibles. Those invincibles no longer have the freedom to choose to spend their money on that trip to Europe, their new business, a sparkling engagement ring, or even something as basic as rent. Under the congressional mandate, they will be forced to choose between purchasing health insurance or violating the law and paying a penalty for doing so.
One wonders if they see it coming.