Rhea Ball / CC BY-ND 2.0

Many young Americans who are either approaching or have passed the cutoff date for coverage under their parents’ health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act are wondering what they willl do if they get sick and can’t find affordable coverage.

The Guardian reports:

Chanel White is dreading her 26th birthday. … White, 24, is one of several million young people in the US who were able to be put on their parents’ insurance scheme after Barack Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) was introduced, extending the age at which people “aged out” of a parental scheme from 18 to 25.

For White, such coverage was crucial. Months before her wedding in 2011, and at the age of just 19, she realised she was very sick. Her hands had been swelling and turning purple, her joints hurt and she was losing her hair.

She was soon diagnosed with the debilitating and potentially life-threatening autoimmune disease systemic scleroderma. She had to undergo an invasive procedure to open up her blood vessels and had a finger amputated. There were countless appointments with doctors and specialists to help figure out how to treat the complex disease as it developed. At the time of diagnosis, she was not covered by her parents’ scheme and so received all this treatment without health insurance. …

The hospital ended up putting White on charity care, which reduced her debt to $12,000 – more than a year’s rent in the couple’s first apartment, which they never moved into because they had to pay off medical bills. …

The ACA provision has had remarkable effects on young people in the US since it was introduced in September 2010, with 3 million young adults gaining insurance coverage in the 14 months after it was enacted. …

Though she is now insured, she spends at least $600 per month on medical treatment not covered by her plan. And she is deeply worried about what will happen on her 26th birthday.

“While I still have insurance through my parents, I tell my doctors all the time: ‘I have a year and a half – you guys need to do anything and everything while we have this because once I have the other coverage there’s no guarantee I can see you guys any more,’” White said.

Continue reading here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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