In a recent issue of New York magazine, journalist David Amsden wrote an article called "The Young Invincibles," focusing on the growing number of professionals in their 20s who live without health insurance. Jean talks to Dave about the rising cost of healthcare and why it's especially tough for young people to divert part of their income to their health.
As more companies try to scale back on health plans for their employees, many workers are becoming independent contractors, therefore responsible for finding their own insurance, David says. Between the high cost of personal insurance and the levels of bureaucracy you have to navigate to find a good plan, David says it's easy to become intimidated. A low-level employee in his or her 20s generally isn't making a lot of money and often doesn't want to contribute a significant portion of their paycheck to an insurance plan that, Dave says, they may not even use. Some prefer to save the money in case of a medical issue, while others simply try to avoid seeing a doctor for any reason.
David says his article explores just one of the many problems with the American healthcare system. "There's a paradox of first-world strivers living under vaguely third-world conditions," he says. There have been small legislative steps taken to reshape the bigger picture, David says, such as allowing young people to stay on their parents' plans up to age 30 in some states and plans that are custom-tailored to certain age groups in other states. A push toward universal healthcare on the state level could be a step in the right direction, but David says if there is to be any long-lasting changes, the federal government will have to step in and find a way to unify the states' plans.