Young, uninsured adults seeking health coverage face challenges

Many young adults are newcomers to health insurance, its costs and ways to select a health plan that fits both their lifestyle and their budget.

December 09, 2013|By Lisa Zamosky

Burbank student Maria Cardenas, 26, has been without health insurance for the last four years, and it worries her.

"I'm really healthy and don't generally get sick, but there are occasions when it happens," she said. "I want to be able to go to the doctor when I need to and not worry that I can't."

Cardenas works as a chemistry tutor and sometimes as an on-call nanny while she gathers enough credits at Pierce College to apply for medical school. She pieces jobs together to make ends meet, and though she wants health insurance, she can't afford it. "Even a plan with low coverage was pretty expensive," she said.


Cardenas' story is like many heard at Enroll America, an organization started by Obama supporters who are working to maximize enrollment of the nation's uninsured in health plans, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"It's really about the affordability issue," spokesman Justin Nisly said. "I think for most people, if they can afford it, they want health insurance."

But for younger, uninsured consumers like Cardenas, there are other challenges. Many are newcomers to health insurance, its costs and ways to select a health plan that fits both their lifestyle and their budget.

For young adults who have yet to shop for their insurance options, experts offer some points to consider.

California's health exchange is open for business. Now is the time to explore your options under the state's Covered California exchange, pick a health plan and sign up.

For those interested in having health insurance in place at the start of 2014, there's a sign-up deadline of Dec. 23. But enrollment continues for three more months after that, ending March 31.

Don't be misled by reports that the healthcare website isn't working. The state's website at has been working since Oct. 1, and 31,000 Californians signed up in the first month. It is the federal website,, operating in 36 states, that had been having major problems and frustrating consumers interested in enrolling in a health plan.

Cardenas is among those who were unaware that California's exchange operates separately from All the reports about the federal website's problems led her to believe that there was no point in trying to research her insurance options. "That's why I didn't look into it any further. From what I heard, it just wasn't available online," she said.

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