During a discussion with Chelsea Handler on Saturday, 24-year-old Tomi Lahren explained that she’s still covered by her parents’ health insurance plan, yet opposes Obamacare — which legally mandates that insurance companies allow parents to claim their adult children as “dependents” up to age 26.
Many were quick to point out how ridiculous this is, including Chris Jacobs, who explained why adults like Lahren are what’s wrong with Obamacare. He’s not entirely wrong. It is outrageous that a person who was given a $40,000 clothing allowance in addition to her salary would be able to mooch off her parents’ health insurance because of a stupid rule in a terrible health-care law. Jacobs’s piece does lack some perspective, however.
My situation is similar to Lahren’s. I’m 25 years old. I’m capable of financially supporting myself (although, unlike the former Blaze host, I don’t get a massive clothing allowance). I’m still covered by my parents’ insurance plan, yet I avidly oppose the law that allows me to stay on their plan for another year.
I’m not a health care wonk, but I do know that the individual marketplace is a mess. The New York Times reports that as of next year, 35,000 Americans in 45 counties will have no insurance carriers to chose from. My colleague Mary Katharine Ham wrote about how the premiums for her Obamacare plan went up 96 percent this past year. And her experience, sadly, isn’t at all unique. Many have been forced to shell out a lot more dough for insurance plans they don’t need due to health benefits that Obamacare mandates must be included in one’s plan. These benefits are required so insurers, who under the health care law must cover people with pre-existing conditions without charging them extra, can’t skimp out.
I also resent the fact that the government is using me and other healthy, young people to prop up a rickety health-care system that’s bleeding our country dry. My generation is already on the hook for all the entitlements and bailouts previous generations benefitted from (Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare) and passed the price tag onto us. It’s frustrating that even my health insurance plan is not exempt from this Ponzi scheme.
Why would I want to stick a toe into this pool of coverage uncertainty and financial angst any sooner than I absolutely have to? In the individual market I will be even more exploited financially than my parents are in keeping me on their plan now. As a family, we’re willing to share those costs, because this loophole makes a horrible system slightly more bearable. I plan to ride it out on my parents’ plan for another year, until I’m booted off it by whatever bureaucratic mechanism does that.
I’m not the reason Obamacare is terrible. Nor is it my fault that the insurance marketplace is such a mess. It was set up to incentivize young people like me to stay on our parents’ health insurance plans. Obamacare was doomed to fail from the start due in no small part to its dependence on young, healthy enrollees who are being priced out of and chased away from the insurance market. We are being exploited to pay for the health care of people who are often sick due to their own poor life choices yet insist it’s not fair for them to have to face the costs of those choices. I’m not going to opt in to fully bear that burden until I’m legally compelled to. It’s unjust.