The number of uninsured young adults continues to increase: The rates of high school graduates completely lacking health insurance now stands at 38%, meanwhile 34% of college graduates also lack coverage.
Young adults are often bumped off of their parent's insurance, whether it’s on their high school or college graduation day. Even if they’re able to secure a job with benefits, those often don’t kick in until several weeks, or even months, into employment. The result is a lapse in coverage that can create financial havoc on a young person’s ability to save.
“One of the reasons young adults aren’t covered is because they think it’s too expensive,” says Robert Zirkelbach of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a health insurance company lobbying group. “Individual health care coverage is more affordable and accessible than is widely known.” According to Zirkelbach, 90% of young adults who apply for insurance are offered coverage, and the annual premiums average $1,359 for ages 18 to 24 and $1,534 for ages 25 to 29.
What is too expensive, are bills when their payment is not supplemented by insurance. Medical bills have the power to bankrupt you fast. Even if you are the picture of health, one false step could potentially put you in financial ruin. “A lot of people feel invincible at that age, but I would never tell people not to have insurance,” says Dave Hernandez, and founder of Wealth Engineering LLC in Scottsdale, Ariz. “It’s the last thing someone at that age thinks about because they’re in top mental and physical shape with the whole world ahead of them,” he says. “But accidents happen.”Short term insurance policies can last a couple months to a year with an option to renew, helping people in need of intermittent coverage. “Short term policies generally have low monthly premium, but tend to have more exclusions like pre-existing conditions,” says Zirkelbach. “If you have an extensive history it will be difficult to get coverage. But health care coverage is more accessible and affordable than is widely believed, especially for that young age group.”