Young adults not signing up for healthcare

By Alex Davis | adavis@wcia.com

Published 02/07 2014 05:01PM

Updated 02/10 2014 09:30AM

SPRINGFIELD -- We're less than two months away from the Affordable Care Act's health insurance deadline, yet young people still aren't signing up at the rate needed. WCIA-3's Alex Davis keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

New statistics show 25% of the 2.2 million enrolled in the exchanges are young adults. But, the government needs this number to be 40%. It's to offset healthcare costs for older, sicker Americans.

For every young person who doesn't sign up, there's a handful of reasons. The main one is they don't think they need it.

"They haven't really looked into it because they're not really worried about their health right now."

"I'm more of a guy who will home remedy. I can fight off my own battles."

"I don't really go to the doctor that much. I don't really need to. I exercise a lot. I eat decently healthy."

Plus, some are covered by their parents' insurance. Others would rather pay a penalty. But, wisdom doesn't have to come with age.

"It doesn't matter what your age is. Things like cancer, horrible illnesses can strike at any age."

This same group of youngsters from UIS knows there will come a time when they need coverage.

"As you get older, your health will start to deteriorate. I mean, it depends on how you take care of your body, what you eat, if you work out, keep in shape."

When that time comes, it could come with a hefty price tag if they don't already have it.

"There are certain times where you have to go to a hospital or you have to see a doctor and I don't want to have to be paying completely out of pocket for it. That's going to be completely outrageous."

But for now, many young adults will continue to opt out.

"I feel healthy and I think young people don't really want to buy health insurance because that's, they're not really worried about it because they haven't really had a deadly or serious illness."

Come next week, there will be new numbers for enrollment in the health insurance marketplace. There will be a better understanding if there's a balance.

At the end of January, about three million people were enrolled nationally for Obamacare. The new enrollment period runs until March 31. The Obama Administration hopes to have seven million signed up by then as a good measure of success.

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