'Young Invincibles' On Life With Health Insurance

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/125229181/125230488" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

With the new health care law coming into effect, Youth Radio asked a number of young people about health issues they've neglected because they didn't have insurance.

From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

The new health care law promises to make insurance more affordable. If so, that's good news for 19- to 29-year-olds. Their demographic tends to earn the least amount of money and is least likely to have health insurance. Youth Radio talked to five uninsured young people from across the country and asked the question: What's the first thing you'll do when you get health insurance?

Mr. KAREEM CHADLEY(ph): My name is Kareem Chadley. I am 28 years old and I live in Oakland, California. The first thing that I would do is take care of a finger that I broke about a year ago that kind of had healed on its own but it's crooked now. So, I would probably try to get that straightened back out and fix the break.

Ms. MOLLY ADAMS: I'm Molly Adams in Chicago, Illinois. I'm 23 years old. And the first thing I will do when I get covered is get this thing in my hip and knee on the right side checked out. When I do too much activity, it's, like, crunchy sounding sometimes. It hurts.

Ms. HEDER CABRELLA(ph): My name is Heder Cabrella. I'm from East Los Angeles. I'm 21 years old. The first thing that I would get checked out if I did have medical insurance, I would take care of some impacted ear wax that I have gathered in my right ear. Last time I checked it was 150 bucks just to get, like, first wave rinse and then for the more in-depth cleaning was, I think, 300 bucks. So, if I did have medical insurance, I would get that taken care of immediately.

Ms. KELLY SLOAN(ph): My name is Kelly Sloan and I live in Millersburg, Kentucky. I'm 19 years old. The first thing I'll do when I get coverage is get my thyroid checked out. I've been waiting about two-and-a-half years now to get it checked out. I've had a weight problem since I've been 11 or 12. I went to the doctor when I was 14 and they told me that I needed to get my thyroid checked out, but I didn't have any kind of coverage to go to the hospital or go to the doctor. And my mom, she has overactive thyroid, and she's had to go to the hospital and get radiation for it and all this. They told me that if I didn't get medicine for it, then I would end up like her.

Mr. NATHAN HADDON(ph): I'm Nathan Haddon, 23 years old, and I'm from Oakland, California. My teeth, you know, I have a great smile but it's a little dingy right now. So, I'm just trying to get my teeth cleaned and see if I have cavities, because I haven't been to the dentist since senior year of high school, which was six years ago. So, I imagine that I have a few cavities by now, even though I brush every day and floss.

SIEGEL: Those voices brought to us by Youth Radio. Unfortunately, Mr. Haddon may be out of luck. There was a big debate about dental insurance - it is included in the bill - but only for children up to 21. We spoke with the American Dental Association and they told us that the average cost for an adult cleaning is $77, but that varies widely by state.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.