Obama Defends Health Reform During State of the Union Address
President Barack Obama defended the healthcare reform bill during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, and although he insisted that he will not repeal it, he said he is willing to "fix what needs fixing." The Affordable Care Act, signed into law last March, requires every American to have health insurance by 2014. Obama acknowledged the partisan divide over extending insurance coverage to 30 million people; Republicans are angling to quash the law on the basis that it's too costly and could eliminate jobs or force companies out of business. "Let me be the first to say that anything can be improved," he said, according to ABC News. "If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you." But he said he refuses to return to the days when insurance companies could deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Obama also touted the law as making prescription drugs more affordable for seniors, and allowing uninsured young adults to remain on their parents' plans until age 26. Rather than "refighting the battles of the last two years," he urged the nation to move forward. Obama also vowed to find ways to reduce healthcare costs, particularly in programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, which he called the greatest contributors to our long-term deficit.
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Best Affordable Health Insurance Options for Young Adults
If you're young, cash-strapped, and healthy, health insurance might seem expensive and pointless. It's not. An ankle-twisting fall on a hiking trail, a broken arm in a friendly soccer game, bronchitis that turns into pneumonia—you're potentially talking thousands of dollars in medical expenses, writes U.S. News's Megan Johnson. Who do you think will get the bill? See which of the following eight categories describes you, and check out experts' recommendations. Our health insurance glossary will help with unfamiliar terms.
You're moving from high school into the workforce. If your parents are covered through an employer, try to stay on their plan, says Kathleen Stoll, director of health policy at Families USA, a healthcare consumer advocacy group. It'll cost less than getting individual health insurance on your own. If you're under 26 and unmarried, you can be insured as a dependent on your parents' insurance (unless you can get your own job-based coverage). Some states require insurers to extend parental coverage to adult children past age 26; in New Jersey, for example, eligibilty lasts until you're 30. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that about 1.2 million young adults will elect to stay on a parent's health plan in 2011. Downside: Coverage under a parent's plan has its cost. The average policy will cost about $3,380 for each person enrolled in dependent coverage in 2011, according to HHS estimates.
You're headed for college. Most public and private four-year colleges offer health insurance plans for students who aren't covered through their parents. Yearly premiums could run as much as $2,400, but the average is about $850, about one-fourth the cost of premiums for employer-sponsored group plans. Downside: Part-time students may not be eligible. [Read more: Best Affordable Health Insurance Options for Young Adults.]
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