Young People’s Health-Plan Options Are Fine, as Long as You Ignore the Deductibles!

by Jim Geraghty

Actor Kal Penn, touting Obamacare for Organizing for Action:

The old health insurance system was not awesome. The new one, as we’ve all heard, has faced its share of hurdles and surprises getting up and running, but it’s thankfully on track to be much better than the old system. Young people have started enrolling. So far, about 30% of all the people choosing a plan are under the age of 35, and that number is expected to climb, as young Americans often sign up for things closer to deadlines rather than slowly over time (yes, I’m calling you out on the all-nighter you pulled before your last paper was due . . . similar concept).

First, “the old system” did not require you to buy its products or face the penalty of a special tax if you didn’t.

Second, the number of enrollees between the ages of 18 and 35 is 24 percent, which isn’t quite “about 30 percent.” You only reach 30 percent if you include those 0 to 18 years old — the kids included on their parents’ plans.

Sure, procrastination is a reason young people haven’t signed up for Obamacare, but I doubt it’s the primary reason.

The administration insists most uninsured young people will be able to buy plans for less than $50 per month. Sounds great, right? The GAO offered statistics that show the catch. A non-smoking woman, age 30, buying the plan with the lowest possible premium in the state of Virginia would pay $564 per year, or $47 per month. Affordable! . . . Until you realize the deductible is $7,500. That’s how much she has to pay out of pocket before her insurance pays anything. Maybe in a terrible year, full of ailments, she’ll hit it in autumn.

And that’s a bargain compared to some other states. In Vermont, a 30-year-old non-smoking woman can find a plan with a monthly premium of just $56 per month! Except that the deductible is $100,000, according to the GAO report. Sure, you can get a plan with a $3,500 deductible . . . for $292 per month.

Lots of young people, beginning their careers in this oh-so-swell economy, just don’t have a lot of extra income lying around. That’s what’s really holding them back from purchasing health insurance.

As I noted on Greta the other night, if you buy an insurance plan based on what Harold and Kumar tell you, you deserve every bit of misfortune that will befall you.

UPDATE: People seem to enjoy this. In Oregon, land of the music-video promotional campaign . . . that 30-year-old, non-smoking woman can get an insurance plan with a premium of just $52 per month! Of course, the deductible is $10,000. In Washington, D.C., it’s $53.50 for a plan with the same $10,000 deductible. In Maryland, she can pay $65 per month for that deductible. In Illinois, $68 per month. In Connecticut, $99 per month.

In Maine, that same woman can pay $127 per month to enjoy a $12,000 deductible!

In Minnesota, that same woman can pay a monthly premium of just $56.92 with a $15,000 deductible. What a bargain!