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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?


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