Affordable Care Act depending on younger adults signing up to keep costs low


by staff

Posted on September 24, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 25 at 11:06 AM

HOUSTON—The success of part of the Affordable Care Act hangs in the hands of the nation’s young adults, sometimes called the “young invincibles.”

This group is key to helping keep health insurance costs low for everyone.

Javier Hernandez lives at home with his mother and young brother.  He has gone without health insurance for most of his life.

“When we get sick, we don’t necessarily go to the doctor. A lot of times, we just rely on home remedies, or just letting the pain go away,” he said.

Now, for the first time, the 24-year-old working student says he’ll be able to afford coverage. He plans to sign up when the mandated insurance exchanges launch Oct. 1.

Hernandez’s low income qualifies him for government subsidies and tax credits, which means he could pay as little as $30 a month for minimal coverage.

“It depends on your age, your income, where you live,” he said.

The success of the insurance exchanges depends upon so-called “young invincible,” who typically think they don’t need coverage because they’re young and healthy.

Santiago Lucero works, who works for California’s Insurance Exchange says younger people are critical to offset caring for older patients.

“That’s how we bring the premiums down. We have promised insurance companies we will make it happen for you,” Lucero said.

In California, a 20-year old would pay about $146 a month for a middle of the road plan. A 60-year old would pay $624, but new subsidies would help low income earners in both groups, dropping premiums as low as $85 dollars a month.