The Checkup
12:00 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Young, Healthy, and Uninsured: Will The "Young Invincibles" Get On Board With Obamacare?

Credit Barky / stock.xchng

Will "young invincibles" sign up for health insurance?

How will the Affordable Care Act affect your health care?  Today, we kick-off our new series, "The Checkup: How Health Care Is Changing in Maryland" with a look at the young, healthy, and uninsured, sometimes labeled the "Young Invincibles".  We talk with a few about how they’re deciding whether to sign up for health insurance on the online marketplace that’s about to open.

Today, we kick-off a new series, The Checkup: How Health Care Is Changing In Maryland.  In March 2010, President Obama signed into law the most significant changes in health care since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.  Over the coming months, every Tuesday we'll look at how those changes are playing out in Maryland.

One of the key parts of the law will take effect in just four weeks: online marketplaces where individuals can buy health insurance will open in every state and the District of Columbia.

You’ll have to sign up for health insurance or face a penalty of $95 or 1 percent of your income for the first year. For the first time, insurers will not be allowed to turn away people with pre-existing conditions.

Most Marylanders with health insurance get it through their employers, and will continue that way. But, people who buy their own health insurance can shop on the new marketplace, the Maryland Health Connection, and if their incomes are low, they may get a government subsidy there. For example, individuals who make up to about $46,000, or a family of three with income up to about $78,000 dollars, would be eligible for a subsidy.

About 150,000 people are expected to sign up for insurance through Maryland’s online marketplace in the first year.

Who will those people be? That’s crucial to whether the Affordable Care Act will succeed. Today, we begin with the looming question: will enough young, healthy people without insurance, the so-called "Young Invincibles", sign up for coverage?

How Are The Changes In Health Care Affecting You?

We want Tuesday morning to be when you can count on learning something about health care in Maryland, or understanding it better. Are there enough practicing doctors here if more Marylander's seek more care? Will people who already have health insurance be hit with a change in their policy, or in their premium? How will the changes affect smokers? Or people with mental health issues?

We're interested in how these and other changes are affecting you. We want to hear about your experiences in this new health care set-up. Whether you’re finding it easier to get covered by health insurance, or harder because premiums are going up? What’s working well, or not working, for you? Leave us a voicemail at (410) 881-3162.  Or, write to us at thecheckup@wypr.org.

Produced by Matt Purdy.

Our series ‘The Checkup: How Health Care Is Changing in Maryland’ is made possible by grants from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the Baltimore Association of Health Underwriters, and HealthCare Access Maryland.