What health care reform means to us
April 27, 2010
By Michelle Dvorak
A lot of talk has surrounded the recently signed health care bill, and as it waits finalization by the U.S. Senate, the bill has raised as many questions as it has answered. But the basic need for a plan — and the effect of it on teens today — is relatively unambiguous.
The need for health care over the past decade has become apparent as prices of basic health care climb and the costs of dealing with disease become unreal. New and expensive asthma medications can cost $50 per prescription. For youths with diabetes, the annual cost of medications has doubled from 2001 to 2007, while the number of children with diabetes has been steadily increasing.
According to the American Diabetes Association, treating the disease cost the average patient $6,649 in 2007. As said by Time magazine, such things as growth hormone deficiencies have staggeringly high costs and the annual bill for parents can exceed $20,000 — doctor’s visits, tests and hospitalizations not included.
So, what is a teen to do? These prices are too high to be sustainable when one is taken off of their parents’ plan and expected to work to pay for their basic treatments, let alone for school and living expenses. Even for healthy youths, the cost of doctor’s visits and tests push many to put off getting basic health and dental insurance.
For youths leaving high school and entering college, the health care bill is aimed to make insurance more affordable and prevalent among students. In all states, those in college will be able to remain on their family’s plan until the age of 26 (even if married), a measure that will help those whose parents have premium coverage already, as well as those who fare the worst —uninsured youths between the ages of 19-29. Coverage will be easier to get from employers when adults leave school, as larger businesses are to be fined if any employee needs to get government-subsidized health care.
Insurance itself will not necessarily be what it was for our parents; companies are banned from rejecting young applicants with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes. From President Obama, the bill will give more options for youths. As said in The Economist, the estimated cost to the government ranges from $940 billion to $1.6 trillion, but the value of coverage for 100 percent of Americans is not lost. Teens entering the world as newly independent may find good health a little easier to obtain.