WSJ Examines Health Insurance Coverage Options For Young Adults

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The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday examined health insurance options available for young adults. According to the National Coalition on Health Care,in 2005, adults ages 18 to 24 were the least likely of any age group tohave health insurance, and a study released in 2006 by the Commonwealth Fundfound that almost two in five college graduates lack coverage at sometime during the first year after they leave school. Some collegegraduates are unaware that they lose health insurance under thepolicies of their parents after they leave school, and others haveconcerns about the cost of coverage, according to experts.

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However, Sam Gibbs, a senior vice president of eHealthInsurance,said that most young adults do not purchase health insurance because ofa "sense of invincibility." The lack of health insurance for many youngadults "carries serious risks," such as the inability to cover the costof treatment for a "life-threatening medical emergency" and the "riskthat if you have a lapse in coverage and develop a serious illness, itcould be much more difficult -- and costly -- to get health coveragelater," according to the Journal.

Recent collegegraduates can purchase short-term health insurance policies, which canhelp "bridge gaps for students aging off their parents' health plans,"and often can contact the alumni relations departments of their schoolsto find coverage, the Journal reports. Young adults whopurchase health insurance should "do business with a reputable companythat has a strong nationwide network" and determine whether they can"drop the plan without penalty" in the event that they become eligiblefor coverage through their employers, according to the Journal (Soltis, Wall Street Journal, 8/7).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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