Commentary: On Being Young and Wanting Health Insurance

During Men’s Health Week, Malik Hassan discusses the need for health coverage.

Posted: 06/12/2013 05:57 PM EDT

I’m a 24-year-old server and bartender in Philadelphia, an uncle, and a father figure to my sister’s three children. And I’m one of the millions of young Americans who can’t afford health insurance.

Until recently, that never struck me as a big deal. When you’re young and healthy, you don’t really think about health insurance — or at least you don’t think about it until something goes wrong and you need it.

Not too long ago, I hurt my foot pretty badly and thought that I may have fractured a bone. It was the sort of injury that if I had insurance I would’ve gotten checked out, but since I wasn’t covered and couldn’t afford to go see a doctor, I ended up just working through the pain.

That experience made me think about the consequences that a really serious accident could have on the rest of my life. Without insurance, one injury could just turn my future upside down.

That’s why I’m looking forward to the new Health Insurance Marketplaces being created thanks to the health care law. This October, I’ll be one of the people checking out affordable health plans on HealthCare.gov. I’ll figure out which plan is the best fit for me and for my wallet, and I’ll find out if I can get additional help covering costs from the new tax credits the law is making available.

Having health insurance is all about peace of mind — it means somebody’s got your back in case anything happens to you. And having that worry off my shoulders is going to make things so much easier for me as I work toward my goals, whether that ends up meaning going back to school or maybe looking for a better job.

Just because I’m young and healthy now doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be looking out for my future. That’s why I’ll be visiting the Marketplace on October 1 to choose a health insurance plan.

You can learn more about the Marketplace and what you need to do to prepare for October.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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(Photo: Courtesy of Malik Hassan)

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