At age 31, he already knows how much it costs to go without health insurance.
Eddie Mulak couldn’t wait to get covered. He is among the millions of Americans who went from being uninsured to having health insurance on January 1, 2014. And it’s only costing him $20 a month.
Unlike many of his fellow young Americans, who are expected to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) right before the 2014 enrollment deadline on March 31, Mulak signed up in December. He knew the initial glitches at HealthCare.gov would be worked out — and they were. By the time he used the site to enroll he says it was “easy breezy.”
But why would a healthy 31-year-old be in a hurry to buy health insurance? Especially when the naysayers insist young people won’t get covered at all? Because it’s the smart, responsible thing to do, Mulak says.
The last time I had insurance was more than 10 years ago. There is nothing positive about not having insurance. The couple of times I had a fever or the flu, my only access to healthcare was the emergency room. I used it, but I’m stuck with $5,000 in bills that are sitting on my credit report. Now I have the peace of mind knowing I can go to the doctor without worrying about what it will cost.
Before he had coverage, Mulak didn’t see a doctor for recurrent acid reflux. Now he can get real treatment instead of carrying around a huge bottle of TUMS. He’s also gotten a flu shot and has coverage for routine tests that would identify any health problems early.
“Just because you feel healthy doesn’t mean nothing’s going on,” he says. “It makes so much sense to be proactive and be healthier.”
As a college student working multiple jobs, Mulak appreciates the tax subsidies that kept his premiums down to just $20 per month. The maximum he’ll have to pay out-of-pocket in a year is $750 and he has a $0 deductible. That’s right: zero. He also pays nothing for generic prescription drugs and just $10 to see his primary care physician. Mulak also got to choose his doctor, which was important to him.
He and a friend from the restaurant they work at went through the enrollment process together and picked the same plan — and now their co-workers are eager to sign up, too, Mulak says.
They’re all asking us about getting covered — how to do it and how easy it is. They felt like they didn’t need coverage but now they’re signing up and they’re excited about it.
Mulak even helped his mom shop for coverage for his stepbrother, although he says the site is so simple to use she didn’t really need his help.
The ability to compare plans is really nice, and I didn’t have to call my friends who work in the insurance industry to have them explain things to me. It’s all spelled out in clean, simple ways. My mom said, ‘Oh, this is so easy!’
Mulak was eager to enroll not only because he knows what it’s like to live without health insurance. He also believes that healthcare is right — not a privilege. Mulak urges other young people to get covered.
Don’t make the mistake of not getting health insurance. It’s totally worth it. Don’t saddle yourself with thousands of dollars in healthcare bills. Get that covered preventive care, get that checkup. Take care of yourself.
Remember: The deadline to get covered and avoid paying a penalty for not having health insurance this year is March 31, 2014. Visit HealthCare.gov and sign up today.