HOUSTON -- Deonte Smith is the first person in his family to go college, but along with books and tuition, he ll have to add another expense - health insurance.

If he doesn t, under the Affordable Care Act, he will be penalized.

So, we get penalized for not being able to pay for insurance, and the same time the only reason we are really having to pay for insurance is to pay for the next person, Smith said, That s crazy.

But Smith and his peers are exactly who the government needs to pay into the system the young and the healthy for the ACA to thrive.

College-age citizens, who rarely use the system, will need to pay premiums to help cover the costs of the sick.

Honestly, I haven t been to the doctor in 15 years, said Jeffery Fawcett, a student at Tarrant County Community college.

Many citizens under the age of 30 are reluctant to sign up, but, in many cases, this age group is just unaware of their options.

The Government Accounting Office estimates some 1.7 million traditional-age college students are uninsured, and two-thirds of students can t even afford treatment.

Citizens under the age of 30 can sign up for a plan that covers catastrophic care only, but for many of these students, even that, doesn t seem like a good deal.

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