Open Phones: Young, Healthy and Uninsured

Monday, April 23, 2012

The "individual mandate" in President Obama's health-care reform targets the young, healthy and uninsured. Young people, what do you make of the mandate, and how does it affect the way you assess Obama in this election year? Post here or call 212-433-9692 at 10:20!

Comments [51]


i always had health insurance until recently with the loss of my job. i can still afford an health insurance plan that would cost me like 3k or catastrophe insurance of sorts. honestly, i know what my insurance reimburses my doctors and specialists and i can afford to pay them at that rate. however, the problem is what is billed to a patient or even the insurers. like i got a bill for a 15 minute office consult for about $250 and i had to pay the entire thing. meanwhile, my insurance would at most pay the doctor like 40 to 120 dollars. i just feel like there is something fundamentally broken about this system and it needs to be regulated more.

Apr. 24 2012 10:36 AM
Hey Hazel

Following up on your posting, re: Time breaking labor laws -- sure, any info you have would be helpful, including which dept.

Did anything come of your action?

Apr. 23 2012 08:38 PM
wait and see (2) from nyc

does anyone else think it's utterly ironic that the president, most fiercely promoted as an agent of hope and change, who rode into office on a "mandate" of change and hope would, as his BANNER legislation, bring us the plan of his would be conservative Republican rival just 4 years later?
What does that say about professor obama, his promise, and his character?

I have never voted(R) for the WH, but faced with these candidates, Mittens is looking good. So good, in fact, professor obama tapped his health care plan as his own, "Banner" legislation.

Apr. 23 2012 07:04 PM


BIG shouts out to Columbia University, NYU and MIT (the ones I'm familiar with - probably all others!) for only hiring regular, continuous "adjunct" professors and offering ZERO benefits!!!!


Apr. 23 2012 11:55 AM

A friend just recently found himself in the hospital for three days with a pulmonary embolism. Serious but, treatable and NOT ICU-serious.

He has Freelancers Union® PREMIUM... BEST... MOST EXPENSIVE "insurance".

He's looking at $15,000 in costs NOT covered by this policy.

Is this insurance???

Apr. 23 2012 11:18 AM

What is Freelancers Union's Insurance Inc.®, president, Sara Horowitz's salary???

Apr. 23 2012 11:12 AM
Jody from Brooklyn

I pay $400 a month for health insurance as a young, healthy freelancer. This is a "high deductible" plan, so while my in-network yearly physical, mammogram, and obgyn visits require no co-pay, if I were to require any treatment or hospitalization beyond these basic medical services, I would have to meet a $6000 deductible (for in-network. Out of network is not covered). There are also co-pays for pharmaceuticals.

What I wonder is what kind of coverage will the mandate provide? I'm all for a lower monthly premium, but what kind of coverage will it buy? It's the high deductible that contributes greatly to the unaffordability of health care, and I haven't heard much discussion on that point.

Apr. 23 2012 11:06 AM
Lin Young from St Petersburg, FL

I should add, if I had an employer who subsidized health insurance so I could get it at the cheap rates that people pay who get it at their jobs, I would probably carry it. But without an employer giving me health insurance and paying most of the premium for me, I can't find any health insurance that I can afford. I don't expect that will change under the new law. And if I have to pay 8% of my income just for the premium on a health insurance policy (before the deductible and co-pays to use it) I still can't afford it.

Apr. 23 2012 10:56 AM
Carlos from NYC

A caller was complaining about having to pay for health insurance he would *never use* because he embraces alternative medicine for his healthcare... the problem with that logic is that if he ever suffered any sort of trauma requiring hospitalization, say after a serious accident, how would alternative medicine serve him then?

The health care legislation is flawed, but it can be fixed and it is better than NOTHING AT ALL. I'm not necessarily thrilled about the prospect of being forced to pay for insurance ( I am uninsured because it is unaffordable for me right now) but it is a first step, and those who prefer to see the law completely repealed are simply short sighted.

Apr. 23 2012 10:55 AM
Melody from NYC

To the callers who only use herbs... if you get hit by a cab or some other unforeseeable accident.. no problem. Go the the emergency room and the rest of us will pay for your "freedom".

Apr. 23 2012 10:55 AM
Calls'em from Here

0bama is going to lose the election because the 18-30 year olds have no tradition of voting and they are disillusioned. This group is unemployed or under-employed and straddled if not strangled by student loans. Young people are not stupid, even if they haven't been taught American history. They see that 0bama has broken every promise that he made in 2008 on war, Gitmo, jobs, the economy, energy, etc. The only unbroken promise is 0bamaCare which is at best very unknown as to how it will play out. All entities studying it project that it will make health care much more expensive for all while drastically reducing services to most. As I listen to the calls, I hear the ignorance that NPR and WNYC have helped to perpetuate by never doing deep objective analysis of the problem. 0bamaCare will be either overturned by the US Sup Ct or repealed and replaced by the coming conservative/Taxed Enough Already Republican Super Majorities in 2013. PS - The 0bamaCare law was written by folks at the Apollo Alliance & Tides Foundations - two far left wing "think" tanks and political action orgs; and not by the insurance companies. Private insurance rates have gone up because of 0bamaCare, and not despite it. Do a little reporting and less propagandizing for the left.

Apr. 23 2012 10:52 AM

james from nyc~


Apr. 23 2012 10:48 AM
mercedes from westchester

I understand the need for mandating health care insurance--and yes, a broken leg needs traditional medical care, notherbs. However, insurance should be including prevention (weight management, exercise venues, nutritional counseling etc) and alternatives. They are a good investments. The insurance companies shouldl not be the unchallenged decision makers in our health care. Before, they sold life insurance and received years of income that were never paid out. Now we live longer and they have to pay for those times when we become too old to work and possibly too old to take care of ourselves. Oh-h-h, poor babies. They have to make good on their product. And yes, if mandated, prices will have to come down and maybe they won't have as much control, as in, can't dictate how we are taken care of. I don't care how many MDs they have in-house, they are not proacticing and often don't care to proactice. The job with an insurance company is easily obtained and has regular hours. And they are still controlled by the company not good medicine.

Apr. 23 2012 10:47 AM

Freelancer's "Union"®: DON'T BUY THE BS!!

Apr. 23 2012 10:46 AM
Phil from People Republic of Brooklyn

Your tax dollars should be used to provide healthcare in the same way that it pays for municipal services, military and the general welfare. Your tax dollars that you pay are for insurance against crime, fire, catastrophe,etc. People shouldn't be mandated to buy anything from a private FOR PROFIT company period that's just crazy.

Apr. 23 2012 10:46 AM
Lin Young from St Petersburg, FL


Thanks for making that distinction that the new health care reform bill isn't about health care but about health insurance.

Like your caller, I rarely use Western medicine. I generally use alternative treatments and preventative measures that are not covered by any health insurance plan. I even did that two years ago with gallstones after my doctor wanted to send me to the hospital by ambulance. I drove myself home instead and looked up an alternative treatment in my books and then began it. Although that time I was worried I'd made the wrong choice because I became much sicker before the treatment began working and was so sick at one point I couldn't even call for help. But I turned a corner, passed the gallstones and began to feel better. But the alternative treatment, which included a modified diet, still ended up costing a good bit of money.

I'm not young. But I am generally healthy. Why should I pay for premiums for health insurance I won't use to subsidize other people and the insurance industry and then still have to pay for all of my own non-Western medical care out of my own pocket? I can't afford it.

I wish they would have adopted single payer universal care that covered alternative medicine.

Apr. 23 2012 10:45 AM

PEOPLE WILL DIE so these immoral Klowns® can make these ridiculous salaries!!

Ins. Co. & CEO With 2008 Total CEO Compensation

Aetna, Ronald A. Williams: $24,300,112
Cigna, H. Edward Hanway: $12,236,740
Coventry, Dale Wolf: $9,047,469
Health Net, Jay Gellert: $4,425,355
Humana, Michael McCallister: $4,764,309
U. Health Group, Stephen J. Hemsley: $3,241,042
Wellpoint, Angela Braly: $9,844,212


Apr. 23 2012 10:43 AM
adding from montreeeeeeeeeeeal

Can't people add? If Health Care is 1/6 of the economy it is 16%

How can premiums of no more than 8% of your income (your income is less than all the country's GDP) finance 16% of the GDP?

Personal income is LESS than 100% of GDP.

8% times less than 100% CANNOT EVER be 16% of the whole GDP

Apr. 23 2012 10:42 AM


Is Time still doing that? I ask because I worked there under that system about 10 years ago and was contacted by the US Labor Dept. who was investigating them for it. I may still have the person's name that I spoke too. What they are doing is illegal.

Apr. 23 2012 10:41 AM
Sara from Bushwick

As a 41 y.o. self employed person who has never had insurance I am completely frustrated that medical care, as a citizen of a first world country, feels unattainable.

Apr. 23 2012 10:41 AM
Ron from Manhattan

I wonder what the guy who doesn't believe in Western industrialized medicine would do if he had appendicitis, or was hit by a bus, or had a brain tumor, or, for that matter, had a boil. The idea that he wouldn't need medical insurance is just silly.

Apr. 23 2012 10:40 AM

What percentage of one's income is the definition of affordable?

Apr. 23 2012 10:40 AM

If we are going to be required to buy insurance, then those companies supplying it should be required to be not-for-profit.

Apr. 23 2012 10:40 AM
Xtina from E. Village

The individual mandate is my single biggest disappointment with the Obama Administration, especially considering that he changed his position after elected. Nothing but a paean to insurance companies. The insurance and health care industries are broken in this country and this just props it up.

I'm like the other caller who says he works outside of the system with alternative medicine - much cheaper and works better.

Apr. 23 2012 10:40 AM
Cynthia from Brooklyn

To the caller who doesn't believe in Western medicine, when you get in a car accident you are going to need it and use it. Just because you're healthy now does NOT mean you will continue to be so.

Apr. 23 2012 10:40 AM

What's it gonna cost????

Still more than most people make in a year??!?!?


Apr. 23 2012 10:40 AM
The Truth from Becky

Not sure what the problem is. I am young healthy insured but, I also pay premiums monthly as well as a co-pay to go to the doctor as well. Currently I have the option not to carry insurance true, but as a responsible human being I know that the alternative would create a huge debt that I am not willing to incur.

Apr. 23 2012 10:40 AM
Michelle from NYC

To the caller..I use herbs too.. but if you get hit by a taxi.. you'd want some type of insurance.

I guess these callers don't believe if our society as a whole is healthier, we all benefit.

Apr. 23 2012 10:39 AM
Edward from NJ

What kind of herbal medication does one take for a broken leg?

Apr. 23 2012 10:39 AM
tommy from brooklyn

Insurance is a distribution of risk...

we are not all sick all the time, but we must pay all the time to make it affordable

And we must manage cost and the out of control FRAUD in health care

Your caller Tracy is nut job that thinks erbs will heal him better then tested drucgs..

Apr. 23 2012 10:39 AM

I'm not young, but I am a liberal who voted for Obama and will again (what choice do I have). I completely resent the government forcing me to buy a product. There is no comparison to auto insurance - it is optional (to a degree) to own a car and a car can damage other people and property. I'm very dismayed by the number of young people who are drinking the kool-aid. Where are the OWS-ers?

Single-payer now!!!!!

Apr. 23 2012 10:38 AM


Apr. 23 2012 10:38 AM
John A. from Rock & Hard place.

Just a note that in the one (1) case of auto accident, your mandated auto insurance already covers hospitalization. It did in my case, even though there was word that the Hospital had to take the to court. It sounded routine in the offrecord report I got.

Apr. 23 2012 10:38 AM

Freelancer's "Union"® is a FOR PROFIT "insurance™" company!

They are NOT doing anyone ANY favors.

All their altruistic® EMPTY advertising rhetoric is TOTAL BS!!!


Apr. 23 2012 10:36 AM
David from Manhattan

Premium Rates for Standard Individual Health Plans

April 2012

As indexed by New York State:

Apr. 23 2012 10:36 AM
Scott from Lower Manhattan

When my sister and I first graduated from college and were living with our parents, my parents needed to find a viable health insurance plan. Since I am healthy, and we were living in an unregulated state, I was able to get a relatively inexpensive individual plan. However, since my sister had a number of health issues, my parents used COBRA to get insurance through my father's company.

Now for what's going on economically: the mixture of healthy people like me and people like my sister working at my father's company is what enables the common rate that is substantially less than what an individual plan for my sister would have run. If the "young and healthy," the ones who would qualify for the rates I qualified for, decide that they do not want to pay the community rates, it would skew the average for everyone pushing up the community rate for everyone. Thankfully, it seems that the people calling in don't have a problem with doing their part to prevent that from happening.

Apr. 23 2012 10:35 AM
james from nyc

There is no health insurnace in the US

There is a health insurance business in the US and what a great business it is...

Apr. 23 2012 10:35 AM

We love buying our own health insurance!

We are a young healthy family, two adults two kids, paying 1500 k per month, plus minimum of $40 co-pays for ordinary gp visits, and minimum of $50 for any prescription. It's great -- thanks Aetna! And thanks Obama, for all your compromises!

And a big shout out to Time Inc., our employers, for hiring full-time, permanent contractors to fill their key positions, then firing them every 1800 hours in order to comply to contractor rules! Yay!

Apr. 23 2012 10:33 AM
tracy from new york

I feel the mandate is nothing more than insurance company bail out. End of life care is breaking the insurance companies, so they struck a deal with the government to make people who will pay, but not get sick make their profit margins work. The type of health care I chose is more alternative and not covered by health insurance anyway.

Apr. 23 2012 10:33 AM
oscar from Ny

...didnt Jesus rise lasarous after death..why would I need medical insurance when I can heal myself?...

Apr. 23 2012 10:32 AM

Ron Paul wants to open health care to alternative competitive providers, treatments, substances, and insurers.
He also wants all health care costs tax deductible.
Licensing, insurance restrictions, the FDA, and the DEA prevent and raise the cost of many effective treatments in the US.
Tax codes coerce us all into employer provided health insurance, which is primarily designed to benefit employers, not workers.
Tax codes encourage routine procedures to be paid for through the inefficient and restrictive insurance system, rather than being a hedge against catastrophe.
Ron Paul's solutions would obviate the problems caused by government "solutions" to government-caused problems.

Apr. 23 2012 10:32 AM
wait and see from nyc

Let's all take a moment and Thank Mitten Romney for handing Obama the glory of taking credit for his/conservative's health mandate.

I am young and uninsur. and I hate this. The ins. companies are going to milk us for their shareholders - these callers are being very naive!

Apr. 23 2012 10:30 AM

Ron Paul wants to open health care to alternative competitive providers, treatments, substances, and insurers.
He also wants all health care costs tax deductible.
Licensing, insurance restrictions, the FDA, and the DEA prevent many effective treatments in the US.
Tax codes coerce us all into employer provided health insurance, which is designed to benefit employers, not workers.
Tax codes encourage routine procedures to be paid for through the inefficient and restrictive insurance system, rather than being a hedge against catastrophe.
Ron Paul's solutions would obviate the problems caused by government "solutions" to government-caused problems.

Apr. 23 2012 10:30 AM

i'm 32, and i'm not uninsured, but i'm a medical student and so this is definitely something i think a lot about (tried to call in but my insurance status disqualified me...). if you're 28 and you're uninsured and you're on your way to work and you get in a catastrophic car accident, are you going to be able to afford your hospital bill? it doesn't work to say you'll buy it when you need it. i actually have come to think of it as a civic duty, buying into the insurance system. it's the only way we can afford the kind of comprehensive, universal health our country deserves. if we're not going to have a single payer system that we buy into w/ tax dollars, then the mandate is necessary.

Apr. 23 2012 10:28 AM
Dan M from Brooklyn

I'm 32, work about 75 hours a week as a freelance Production Assistant, and Assistant Director in film/tv. Will I be able to get health insurance?

If so, I'd vote for him twice if I could.

Apr. 23 2012 10:27 AM
Dorothy from Manhattan

Why are you assuming that uninsured young people don't want insurance? I can only guess that you've been reading too many right wing websites. ;-)

Apr. 23 2012 10:27 AM
Scott from Lower Manhattan

On the topic of the health insurance mandate, one thing is often ignored: there is an implied insurance that they have. Those who are healthy generally have actuarial health costs that are substantially less than community rated premiums. However, everyone is at risk as changing from a status, such as by a severely injurious accident, having a special needs child or development of diabetes, of costing substantially less than community rated premiums to costing more or substantially more. The regulations against health insurers price discriminating between clients guarantees that such an event would not affect you. If you have that type of insurance via government fiat, then the government can require you to pay what you can for it.

Apr. 23 2012 10:23 AM

A 32 year old woman I know was recently downsized and decided she didn't want to spend her money keeping her insurance coverage under COBRA. She was 'young and healthy'...until she wasn' she has cancer....who pays for her treatment?

Apr. 23 2012 10:22 AM
Linda from NJ

I'm not young, but I believe that health insurance is a must, like car insurance. Why should all of us who are insured pay for medical expenses of the UNinsured??? Cory Booker in 2016!

Apr. 23 2012 10:20 AM
antonio from bayside

I think the young are going for the ows movement, not obama or any single candidate. They know that movements get things done, civil rights etc. That is what the media is not getting; the majority of folks that disagreed with the health care reform was due to not being remotely comparable to other countries in terms of fairness.

Apr. 23 2012 10:19 AM

A person's health can turn on a dime, whether it be through an accident or the development of an illness. I don't think a young, healthy and uninsured person should feel safe, or should resent having to buy insurance. At 28, I would have told you my health was great; I qualified with flying colors for life insurance. A year later, I was diagnosed with a chronic progressive lung disease. Just one of my hospital stays costs over $30,000. Needless to say, I'm very grateful I have health insurance.

Apr. 23 2012 10:18 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.