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Healthcare Insurance Cliff at 26

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Healthcare Insurance Cliff at 26

December 13
15:32 2017

Image result for healthcare for young adults

One of the things about the Affordable Care Act that never made sense to me was why it raised the age of children covered under their parent’s policy, from 21 to 26. The entire success of Obamacare working was built upon the premise that millions of young healthy adults would enroll in healthcare plans. Since they were young and healthy, it was expected that they would have few claims and that their premiums would help pay for the coverage provided for older and less healthy individuals.

However, that was not the case. Instead, the major group that enrolled in Obamacare policies were done so under the Medicaid expansion and were older and less healthy individuals which required more payout of benefits than premium money coming in. This is one of the major reasons so many healthcare insurance providers have dropped policies and plans and pulled out of the Obamacare market altogether.

One can’t help but wonder if the maximum age of dependent coverage had been left at 21, if enough young healthy people would have signed up for healthcare? Guess we’ll never know.

Whether the maximum dependent age is 21 or 25, those young adults are still facing a healthcare insurance cliff that is getting higher and higher or should I say has a longer and longer fall than before.

What do these young adults do if they don’t have healthcare coverage through an employer, once they reach that age just beyond the maximum dependent coverage?

The process can be confusing and daunting, let along expensive. Meet one such young lady who faced the cliff at 26:

Marguerite Moniot felt frustrated and flummoxed, despite the many hours she spent in front of the computer this year reading consumer reviews of health insurance plans offered on the individual market in Virginia. Moniot was preparing to buy a policy of her own, knowing she would age out of her parent’s plan when she turned 26 in October.”

“She asked her parents for help and advice. But they, too, ran into trouble trying to decipher which policy would work best for their daughter. The family had relied on her father’s employer-sponsored plan through his work as an architect for years, so no one had spent much time sifting through policies.”

“‘Honestly, my parents were just as confused as I was,’ said Moniot, a restaurant server in Roanoke.”

“In defeat, just before Thanksgiving, she went with her mother to meet a certified health insurance navigator, buying a policy that allowed her to keep her current doctors.”

Emily Curran, a research fellow at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute, added:

“There’s already a barrier where young adults are having difficulty understanding what the value of insurance is. Coming out … and saying prices are going up, choice is going down and this law is a mess doesn’t really get at the young adult population.”

This year, the open enrollment was shorter, running from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, two days from now. In an effort to reduce federal spending, $90 million in federal funding was cut from groups that helped people like Moniot and others of all ages to find the right policy to meet their needs and budget, if that’s possible.

The healthcare cliff is coming quicker, but what happens between to those facing the cliff after open enrollment ends and before the next open enrollment period begins. Many young people may not see the need to plan that far ahead, but when they turn 26 in a few months, they’ll find themselves standing at a precipice not knowing what to do.

That’s why they need to speak to a healthcare insurance professional now, before it’s too late.

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