Health Care Reform: Young Americans

Young people frequently held out by high prices

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

As part of our week-long series of health care roundtables, we’re talking with young people. They're coveted by health insurers, but with low salaries and high resilience, they’re often the least likely to buy in. We hear from Savlan Hauser, an architect in Oakland, California who has been buying her own catastrophic health insurance plan for the last three years; Nik Bonovich, a freelance journalist in Sacramento, California, who’s been buying premium health insurance since February; and Golnar Adili, who's been going without health care coverage for the past three years.

Click here to access the other round tables in this series

For more on the guests from today's roundtable continue reading...

Savlan Hauser

27-year-old freelance architect in Oakland, California

  • Salvan works on a project-to-project basis, and doesn’t expect to get health care any time soon.
  • She says she pays out of pocket for most everything, because her $70 per month health care plan has a $10,000 deductible.
  • Has had catastrophe insurance for three years, and payments recently went up from $40 a month to $70 a month.
  • Has dual Canadian-American citizenship, and often travels to get health care for cheaper, including doctors’ visits in Mexico and buying eyeglasses in Japan.
  • She showed up in the ER and got stitches when she had health insurance through college, and her stitches cost $3,000.
  • The last time she paid for an eye exam out of pocket, it was $90.
  • She never had health care growing up because her dad has his own business. She and her sister remember he bought a dental pic and cleaned their teeth that way.
  • She’s been brought up to be skeptical of any treatment and told us, “Our system is set up to bring on more treatment," and that she's in favor of a single-payer, government-paid health care plan.

Nik Bonovich

30-year-old freelance journalist in Sacramento, California

  • Nik pays for his own health insurance from Kaiser Permanente for $284 per month, and has since February. He told us, “Since age 22, I’ve been paying for my own individual health care plan, on and off. I didn’t go premium until this February.”
  • He used to pay for a catastrophic plan only, at $80 per month, just in case he had any emergency room visits.
  • Says that Kaiser has a good all-inclusive health care plan, and it’s all under one roof.
  • He told us, “I’m using my savings, my tax refund and unemployment to pay for it.”

Golnar Adili

33-year-old artist in Brooklyn, New York

  • Golnar told us that she can’t afford health insurance, and that she used to work for an architecture firm, and got it through that job for two years, but that ended three years ago.
  • She's gotten her health insurance in the past at Woodhall Medical Center, because they have a plan for artists where you can swap work for doctor’s visits. 
  • Prior to that, she was in Charlottesville, Virgnia doing a sculpture fellowship where she was considered part-time staff, and found out about a free health clinic there to get services.
  • She’s had some osteopathic work done when her shoulder was hurting, and she paid for that out of pocket.
  • She said that her mom’s in her 60s and has diabetes, and that she's more concerned her mom gets health care first. Her father had cancer (and he didn’t have insurance) before passing away. That was scary when he was treated without health care.



Golnar Adili, Nik Bonovich and Savlan Hauser

Hosted by:

Femi Oke

Produced by:

Abbie Fentress Swanson

Comments [4]


RIP Senator Ted Kennedy.

Fellow Americans!

The time is Now for Health Care Reform.

Stand with President Obama and tell your congressmen, representatives, friends, family.


Aug. 27 2009 10:14 PM

(cont. from below)
Insurance is just We buy it knowing (and hoping) we won't need it, but wanting the peace of mind that coverage is supposed to give us. We're seldom happy that we're paying a bunch of money to the insurance company and they'll get to keep it without providing anything to us in return in the form of claims, but we're glad nothing bad happens to us to require us to make a claim. Hopefully I will never be seriously ill or injured and need my health insurance in earnest; hopefully I will never get in an accident and need my car insurance to pay up; hopefully my apartment building will never burn down or be flattened by a tornado and require me to file a claim with my renter's insurance. The latter two are rather unlikely...but I buy insurance anyway, just in case, because the monthly payment is, for me, far less of a burden than the cost of healthcare/accident-related lawsuits/replacing all of my belongings would be.

Aug. 25 2009 11:39 AM

(cont from below)
In my case, as well, I have to consider the chronic health problems of my mother that, for all I know, I will develop down the road (I won't know for at least 15 years as her problems didn't start developing until she was in her 40s). I'd far rather be established with my insurance now than wait to buy until I know I have problems and possibly start hitting up against "pre-existing condition" limitations; I've found out with a minor condition and switching insurance how much of a pain that can be for even small things. (cont. above)

Aug. 25 2009 11:38 AM

I'm 26 and have always bought health care whenever it has been offered to me. Yes, I'm pretty healthy--NOW--but that can change in a heartbeat due to injury or simply developing a chronic illness. Like an earlier caller, my partner found this out when his appendix burst...he figures 10 days in the hospital, massive antibiotics, a procedure to drain the abscess that (luckily) formed, and later the appendectomy itself cost his insurance company $30,000...he thanks his lucky stars he'd made the decision to buy the super-premium insurance.
Sure, I could buy catastrophic insurance, but why? A $10,000 deductible doesn't put health care in reach for me (or many people) any more than having to pay the full sum would.
(cont. above)

Aug. 25 2009 11:38 AM

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