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Healthy and Unwealthy: 20-Somethings DIY Health Care

Trading prescriptions. Self-diagnosing on the Internet (guilty!). Skipping doses to make prescriptions last (I've done that with insurance?). Setting broken bones (ack! not guilty). These are just some of the Band-Aids, the 13.2 million young people, ages 19-29, without insurance have applied.

Maybe we need more doctors like this? Dr. Jay Parkinson (MD!) treats uninsured Internet lovers (but not old ones, he only sees people under 40) via IM, email, and in person through house (or coffee house) calls for a $200 fee per visit. Not exactly cheap, but certainly better than the emergency room.

Most insurance companies cut dependents off at 19 or after college graduation, but more than two dozen states have increased the cutoff age to well into the 20s. Where are these magical lands? Get the list here.

The health care industry calls uninsured 20-somethings the "young invincibles," which makes the industry sound like an old irascible. While some certainly see themselves as young, healthy — invincible? — others live uninsured in fear while focusing on their careers, using the little money they earn interning and working odd jobs for rent and food. Though, in fairness, I've been there and threw a credit card set on automatic payment at the problem.

But I never did use that insurance that I still pay for, so I can't blame those who live without it. Are you sympathetic, or should the young invincibles swallow an adult-sized pill and deal with it?


Join The Conversation
amandax53 amandax53 8 years
Not every insurance will carry you over age 18 even if you are in school. My parents insurance dropped me as soon as I turned 19, and I was still in college. My school didn't offer insurance and spending $200-300+ a month on health insurance, I may or may not use just isn't in my budget.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
I don't understand why you still can't be insured under your parents if you are a full time student making good grades. And if everything is true, then you are just in real life, you can't afford it now. That's how it works. When you can afford it, get it. That's just life. Like I said, I've been there, and my husband and I got pregnant. Very expensive, but we didn't blame anyone but ourselves and didn't get any help. That's just life. We didn't for a second think it was the governments job to help us out.
LoveSarah LoveSarah 8 years
Great Sommelier -- you are describing how I live (I have a cell because I need it for my job, thank-you-very-much) Living off of ramen noodles, living in a shit hole apartment, working way too much for way too little because I am "too young" to be in a position of management or to get a raise, and I have been wearing the same clothes for the past 3 years, or when I'm lucky hand-me-downs from friends. I haven't bought a single piece of my furniture (all found on the side of the road or hand me downs) and I STILL can't afford insurance. Did I mention I work full time and am a full time student? So what more would you like me to do? Seriously I honestly can't do anymore to make anymore money.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
But that isn't the governments job. Especially in this country. If you were under 18, I'd say yeah, help em' out, but an adult, nope. You can take care of yourself. I've been there, heck, most of us have been there. It's a struggle, but it seems the younger generations don't understand budgeting and going without. There is a huge sense of entitlement in the younger generations. There were times when we had no cable, ate cereal, no cells, didn't go out, didn't buy clothes, cinderblock bookshelves, etc. There is no where in the constitution of this country that says the government should provide anything but security for us.
OliveBlack OliveBlack 8 years
Great Sommelier, I disagree, I do believe it is a government's responsibility to provide healthcare for all of its people. I'm very lucky to live in a country with universal healthcare, because I certainly couldn't afford health insurance if I needed it.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
This is when you can make the decision. Go to school, get a better job that provides healthcare, or play russian roullete with your health. It is all up to you. It isn't the governments job to provide a perfectly capable young person with healthcare. And, you most certainly can live without a cell phone. I did up until three years ago. It is liberating really.
LoveSarah LoveSarah 8 years
What about the 20 somethings who work in dead end jobs that don't provide health insurance? Or the ones whose parents never paid for their insurance? You say "oh, but they have their video games and cell phones and don't save anything" Funny thing is, I live pay check to pay check, with out video games, and yes, I have a cell phone because you can't live with out one today. So I am glad you guys have good jobs where you can afford insurance, but when it comes down to it, if you had to chose between health insurance or food you know you would pick food. Health care should not be a privilege. I shouldn't have to have a rich mommy and daddy to get health insurance, (which, both of my parents don't have health insurance either) or I shouldn't have to pay over $200 a month for it.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
If you are in school, why would the insurance drop you?
Amandaletta Amandaletta 8 years
That's exactly what I was thinking Genesis. Whatever 20somethings they know do not represent ALL of us. I have no PS3, Netflix, Car, I don't go out EVER, I can barely pay my bills with enough left over to sort of eat. So let me get right on getting insurance! My fathers insurance dropped me without any warning and refused to even speak to me! So screw you who say we all would rather drink our lives away at Starbucks or the bar!!! I can't afford groceries...let alone insurance!
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
I hate how everyone is saying we're irresponsible. I work but I also have school. I don't spend my money frivolously, I don't have an ipod or cell or even a car and yet I can't afford insurance. I have some money set aside for emergencies and not much so anything minor gets pushed aside. I don't know what else you expect me to do.
laurelm laurelm 8 years
Between college and my "real" job, when I had no money, I paid my monthly insurance. I know of friends that got in car accidents and still paying the bills for it years later. Me- I tripped outside once, pulled tendons etc and was in physical therapy for a month! From tripping! Honestly, people are just so irresponsible and rather spend the money going to bars, I had MANY friends/acquaintances that made that decision when we all were at that place in our lives. Insurance out of pocket, particularity for males at that age is affordable, so there is not an excuse.
Antioxidant Antioxidant 8 years
It's so scary not having insurance. I've had an upper respiratory infection for a while and finally decided to go to a Care Now clinic and fork out the $110 it costs to see a doctor. Thankfully, the prescriptions he gave me only cost $4 each, otherwise... I'd just have to tough it out. It really is so horrible that anyone who has a job can't automatically get health insurance. I understand it costs the companies money, but UGHH. I've been with this company over 6 months and have to wait at least another 6 just to get anything. All I can do is make sure I have enough money saved up just in case and take care of myself.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
I remember back in the fall of 97 when I was 27 (ah those where the days, wild and free) anyhoo I had the misfortune of catching hepatitis A the temp. form of the trio that comes and goes but while it's here it kicks your @$$. I thought I had the flue or something like that at first but after about a week two of my friends literally had to carry me into the ER because I couldn't walk under my own power. The life was just drained out of me. When I told the women at the window I was uninsured that heifer gave me the nastiest look of disapproval. She's lucky I could hardly move otherwise she would have remembered me to this day. Another thing that I thought was a joke was the free clinics in the area. I went to one for a dental issue. You take a number and sit around for hours. If they call your number you're seen if they don't come back another day and try again. Well if you have a job that system doesn't work so well.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
I agree with other posters about what people can afford. There are some people out there who really can't afford it. But most people I see bitch about the fact they can't afford insurance while buying lattes at Starbucks and picking up take out before going to the movies and then playing guitar hero marathons when they get home.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Amen Myd!
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
I don't understand the point of this post to be honest. Each person is responsible for their own choices on healthcare now, regardless of age. And those people have to deal with the consequences of those choices.
brilliance13 brilliance13 8 years
If I have insurance I certainly use it --I'm always getting checkups and on schedule with all of my exams--I once saw a routine gyno bill amount to $800~!! With insurance I only paid 25 for the copay. prescriptions are crazy expensive without insurance as well! I don't think I can survive too long without it.
heatherhas heatherhas 8 years
Well, I floted for over a year and a half without insuance. Sure I was afraid I would get sick or in an accident, but hey I didn't. I agree it was a little reckless of me, but will I ever do it again? No. Probably not. In my case, I seldom get sick and I am not prone to injuries so I felt like it was a safe bet. Its what I had to do to make ends meet. And I was living in my parents house and working part time so its not like I was living the high life.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
They need to grow up and deal. Some of their actions could lead to serious medical problems in the future and then they will really be looking at expensive medical costs. Why not either suck it up, get proper medical treatment, and pay it out or just get insurance? If you can afford your cell phone, internet, Netflix, PS3, your groceries, I'm sure you can adjust your budget for proper health care or insurance. I've been fortunate enough to have had insurance all my adult life except for 2 months while I was swtiching jobs and waiting for new insurance to kick in. Scariest two months of my life.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Good grief, most of us have been there. You put on your big girl panties and deal with it and set up payment plans. Dude and I had Jude without insurance, nearly $15 grand. But we paid it off.
geebers geebers 8 years
This really upsets me when I read about cases like these. What happens when the uninsured person that took care of themselves gets hit by a car/bus or gets into an accident completely out of their control? They end up in the ER and we pay for them. Healthcare needs to be a right, not a privilege.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
Before I had children I kind of shrugged it off too. Now I get a yearly check-up for everything I need (including the ones I hate) and if I need the emergency room then so be it. I have to take advantage of the good insurance I have. People should be responsible and at least get check-ups.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
what happened to being responsible, if you know you dont have insurance? Most if not all of these young people have cell phones, computers, game consoles, eat out for food, and dont save a darn penny towards "emergencies" and when they do pop up they depend on their parents or resort to self diagnosing. I was guilty of it myself, untill i realized that i wasnt being responsible with my money and put aside some for health reasons.
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