ROCHESTER, NY — A large portion of employees in the US recently renewed or changed health insurance providers, but there are also 26-year-olds trying to navigate the world of health insurance on their own year-round.
“Yes, you know, you need these things as an adult, but typically you set it and forget it. And it’s just that decision process that’s very stressful,” said Sean Healey as he prepares to make the decision every 26-year-old is faced with when they get kicked off of their parent’s coverage plan.
But for Healey, it’s not an easy decision to simply hop on his employer’s health insurance plan.
“I’m self-employed. I produce videos,” he explained.
Healey’s hobby turned into his career several years ago when he decided to start his own videography business called Lightly Salted Productions.
“It’s kind of a little bit of anything and everything at this point,” Healey said. “I do weddings, I do commercial work, I do a lot of social media management for clients. I really like doing music videos. I make a lot of music myself so there’s always room for people to relate to there.”
Healey says he enjoys the liberties of working from home and for himself.
“I love the kind of being able to wake up in the morning, make some coffee, sit down on my desk and get cranking,” he said.
However, his to-do list has grown since he started shopping for health insurance the first time.
“The idea of now turning 26 and being responsible for paying for my own health care does mean I have this extra expense that’s being accrued and it’s a really big one,” said Healey.
He says working for himself means he can choose as little or as much coverage as he likes.
Experts agree that having all the options in the world can be a confusing process for people of all ages.
“Upstate New York’s a very diverse community, all different ages, different job industries, all different walks of life,” said Todd Muscatello, senior vice president of segment strategy and performance at Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Muscatello explains that having the opportunity to be one-on-one with an expert can help clients understand all of their options.
“Coming off your parent’s policy, there’s a lot of different ways to go with this person,” Muscatello said. “If they actually own their own business, they’re probably going to want to purchase their own policy.”
But the price of health care can be a tough pill to swallow for 26-year-olds entering the world of health coverage.
“One thousand dollars for health care? That’s basically what I’m paying for rent. Like that’s crazy right?” Healey said.
For many 26-year-olds, it may seem like a simple process choosing simple coverage because they’re healthy for their age, but adds health to Healey’s list of concerns.
“I have a lot of doctors,” Healey said. “I have a peanut allergy, I’ve got some skin stuff, I see a gastroenterologist, I have a liver condition.”
Healey explains his liver condition is a big fear for him because he’s expecting to need a liver transplant at some point in his life, but there’s no way of knowing when that day will come and if he’ll have good enough health insurance when he’ ll need it most.
“It’s kind of hard to be like, ‘I can get on a not-so-great plan that doesn’t offer a ton for surgeries now and then when the time comes, I’ll just get one that’s really beneficial for surgeries. I don’t know.'” Healey said. “And then is it $100,000? Is it $200,000? And I’m ruining myself financially just because I got a bum ride on this liver.”
Healey’s been using this experience to creatively go about this next chapter of his life.
“You do kind of have to get crafty about your options because it is a lot of money you know, and you need it, so it’s worth doing your homework,” he said.