Getting the young covered is a major reform challenge

Even as Congress attempts to iron out differences on health reform, some major problems remain, and it seems unlikely that any current reform is likely to solve them. One concerns the requirement that everyone buy health insurance.

Despite offering coverage to all comers, as well as equal pricing for people with any medical history and both genders, young, poor consumers in good health have traditionally refused to buy a policy.

Right now, young adults between the ages of 20 and 24 are the most likely to be uninsured, often because they're working entry-level jobs that don't offer benefits. Between the financial demands they face and the sense that they don't need the coverage, they're unlikely to take an insurance mandate lightly, observers say.

The problem is that if young, healthy people aren't included in the pool, it could bankrupt insurers, as their premiums are needed to counterbalance coverage for patients with expensive medical problems. Senate and House leaders differ on how to handle the problem.

To work around this issue, some states are extending the age limits on coverage within parental policies. In Wisconsin, for example, people up to age 27 will remain on their family's health plan starting Jan. 1.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this piece from The Northwestern

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