It’s safe to say that 26 is the new 21. Despite how it seems at the time, the ability to legally drink alcohol is FAR less a measure of your “adulthood” than the ability to pay your own bills. Even more than the ability to pay your own bills is the obligation to do so. At 26, you are officially nudged off the edge of that fluffy cloud that is your parents’ health insurance plan and into a world that not only expects but requires you to stand on your own two feet, financially speaking.
It is in these early years of financial independence that most face a major decision – whether or not health insurance is worth more to you than the cost of paying the fine. For the record, the fine for 2017 is $695 for each adult. The cost of health insurance will vary, but if you are employed but not covered by your employer, the cost of the plan will almost always outweigh the amount of the fine. This fact alone can lead to a very risky conclusion.The real figures to weigh are the costs of coverage and the probable cost of healthcare in the same time period. But, of course, the cost of healthcare is the big variable. Every day you go without health insurance, you essentially place a bet that you will feel about as well tomorrow as you do today. The danger is that you have no idea how much you’ve bet until you lose, and the only thing you win is the opportunity to bet again tomorrow.