Young invincibles: Refusing mandatory health insurance coverage

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by STEN WALSTROM & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on September 20, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 20 at 6:41 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Kelly O'Dea, 33, says that despite his focus on fitness and dedication to health, he is not a believer in health insurance.

"I take phenomenal care of myself, eating, working out," said O'Dea. "I don't like squandering money on something I'm never going to use."

"We call these people the  'Young Invincibles,'" said Jon Ford, with St. Luke's Health Initiative in Phoenix, Arizona. "People who don't think they're going to get sick. People who don't think they need health insurance coverage."

Ford described the "Young Invincibles" as professionals between the ages of 26 and 34 who also maintain good health.

"The opinion going in is 'I don't need coverage,'" Ford said.

O'Dea said that when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect on January 1 he has no desire to enroll. In fact, he feels he is being forced into something against his will.

"It's a major infringement on our liberties, I feel," O'Dea said. "I don't feel right that I'm being forced to buy something."

But people like O'Dea will face a penalty on January 1 if they still choose to go without health insurance. How it works is those who choose not to buy insurance will face a $95 fine or one percent of their income. After the first year is up, the penalty increases to $325 or two percent of taxable income.

"The first year I'll have to figure out," said O'Dea. "the first year it seems the penalty is the more promising route."

O'Dea said that the only reason he might consider purchasing health insurance is to protect himself against an unexpected catastrophic event.

"If  it has the catastrophic at a reasonable rate and it's not too burdensome with where you can't go," O'Dea said, "what you can't do, what you're covered for and what you're not covered for."

Also come January 1, it will be required to cover dependents. Parents who do not cover their children by the deadline would face a penalty for each uninsured child.

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