They're young, healthy and flat broke — and now the government says they have to buy thousands of dollars' worth of medical insurance. What should tapped-out twentysomethings do?
Well, some may just do nothing. The annual fine for shrugging off the new federal insurance requirement, which is to begin in 2014, starts out at a relatively low $95, depending on income. That would be far cheaper than paying premiums.
But that doesn't necessarily make blowing off the mandate a good idea for the fit and frugal. Millions of young people will qualify for good deals on health care if they take time to sort through the complicated law.
Many will get Medicaid coverage at virtually no cost. Others will qualify for private insurance at a fraction of the full premiums. And health plans offered under the law will limit individuals' out-of-pocket expenses to about $6,250 per year or less — a bulwark against gigantic, unexpected medical bills.