Hidden Costs of Health Care

By Mali Kranz, JWI Intern

As an undergraduate student at University of Maryland, this article about ‘being a slave’ to your health insurance describes one of my worst fears. Luckily, with President Obama’s changes to our healthcare system, I can now remain on my parents’ health insurance until the age of 26; a necessity for a generation of students graduating into an unreliable job market with massive student loan debt.

Remaining on my parents’ insurance policy after graduation gives me options, but not everyone is so lucky. While I remain on my parents’ insurance, I have the luxury of deciding to go grad school, or working as a fruit picker in Australia before looking for a “real” job, but I realize many of my peers don’t have that luxury if their parents can’t afford to keep them on their plans.

When it does come time to get serious, I know I will face many of the same problems as the woman in this article, who while working as a dancer, is missing one major necessity: steady health insurance.

Kimberly Dawn Neumann has to work a certain number of hours per year to qualify for health insurance through her union, but as someone who gets frequently injured on the job, she can’t always meet her quota. As a journalism major, I would be extremely lucky to even find a salaried position in my field after graduation. Most likely, I will be in a similar position of trying to eke out a living doing freelance work and trying to pay for health insurance on my own.

This leads me to the tough realization that I may not be able to work in my field if I want the security of a reliable health insurance plan- and I do. I would have to be prepared to take whatever job I can get that offers me benefits, even if that means rethinking my career path and not using my journalism degree. I hope the Supreme Court recognizes this problem, which is sadly not unique, and upholds the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.

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