By Will Cousins | Watchdog.org
It’s becoming harder and harder for young people to access affordable health care.
A recent op-ed authored by Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Jared Meyer of the Manhattan Institute tells the story of Tommy Groves, a young professional who is one of the five million Americans who lost health coverage because their plans did not meet the requirements set in the Affordable Care Act.
Tommy, who was required to find new insurance, decided to visit his online ACA exchange to try to find coverage. Unfortunately for him, the website was malfunctioning so badly that it could not verify his identity, and after hours on the phone with the help center, he was told to send in a paper application.
Eventually, after many more hours on the phone over the course of several weeks, Tommy was informed that the paper application he had sent in had been lost. He was directed to a place where he could sign up in person, only to find out that paper applications were no longer being accepted.
Tommy said of his experience with the ACA exchange:
I don’t want other people who are thrown off their employer’s health insurance to go through what I did. It was miserable and a complete waste of my time. Nobody listens to you. Nobody takes responsibility. The only advice I give people who are going to be stuck dealing with the health-care exchanges is, ‘Get ready for the bureaucracy.’
After this entire ordeal, the website was finally operational, and Tommy was able to sign up for a new “silver plan” online. Unfortunately for him, his new plan cost $225 per month, up from the $175 his previous plan cost.
The cost increase is most likely due to the “modified community rating” required by the ACA. The typical cost of insuring an 18-year-old is one-fifth that of insuring a 64-year-old, because older people are at much greater risk of serious health problems than younger people. However, the ACA mandates that insurance companies can only charge older people three times as much as younger people, which is increasing the cost of healthcare for young people across the country.