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Uninsured Twenty-Somethings

Often when we think of people who don’t have health insurance, we picture young children, the poverty stricken, or the elderly. But what about working 20-somethings? Usually, this particular demographic doesn't get much sympathy from policymakers because it is not a very influential or moneyed group. But there are many other social and economic factors that come into play. An April 2 New York Magazine article examines the phenomenon of young, educated workers in New York City who lack health insurance. Although the article focuses on New York's uninsured, the problem exists all over the U.S.

A few stats to throw at you: according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost 30% of people in the U.S. ages 18-24 have no health insurance--the highest percentage of uninsured of any age group. A close second are people ages 25-34, of whom 27% are not insured.

Many of the uninsured in NYC are college-educated people who work not just in artistic fields, but also in fields such as software design or public relations. Some 20-somethings may believe (or at least hope) that their youth translates to “immunity from all diseases and afflictions.” But what happens when a medical problem arises out of nowhere?

As a person who spent a significant portion of his 20s either without insurance or stuck paying annoyingly high premiums, I can definitely relate. It's tough for anybody to afford health care these days, but it was frustrating to think that one slip on the sidewalk could have landed me in financial ruin.

The Young Invincibles,” April 2, 2007. New York Magazine
Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January – September 2006. CDC Release, March 2007. (PDF).
Table: Percentage of persons under age 65 years without health insurance coverage at the time of interview, by age group and sex. CDC Release March 2007; page 9. (PDF)

For those of you with your 2007 World Almanac and Book of Facts handy, take a look at pages 166-168 for more information and statistics about health coverage in the U.S.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 4, 2007 1:47 PM.

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