Affordable Insurance Plan For Young Adults

Twenty-seven year old Jamie Doerr is a waitress who moved to New York City with dreams of being an actress and very little cash. She rarely thought about health insurance, reports CBS News correspondent Priya David.

"I just can't afford independent health insurance right now," Doerr said.

Insurers call people like Doerr the "young invincibles" - 19 to 29 year olds who don't get health insurance with their jobs and don't carry individual coverage, often because they consider it a major expense they can live without. Across America, there are 13.2 million "young invincibles," who make up 30 percent of all uninsured - a number that's expected to climb in this economy.

"With more and more people losing their jobs, people are really having trouble maintaining their health insurance," said Karyn Schwartz, with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

But the average monthly premium for private insurance for this age group is $400 to $500 per month - too pricey for many young people just making a start.

"I don't forsee in my future being able to pay for independent health insurance for a long time," Doerr said.

But opting out could be an even costlier option. According to the CDC, young adults have the highest rate of injury-related emergency room visits of all age groups - 46 percent of young uninsured adults reported having medical debt as a result.

To entice more young people to purchase health insurance - one company is offering far cheaper plans in a handful of states including in California.

"Those people that choose to go uninsured are literally putting their financial futures at risk," said Richard White, a vice president with Wellpoint Blue Cross Blue Shield. "They're literally one accident away from having their future impacted by a costly accident."

White oversees a plan specifically designed to attract "young invincibles." Called Tonik, the plan offers three low-cost options, ranging from $70 to $120 per month, which all include basic preventative care.

It allows four doctor and emergency room visits annually with low co-payments, and dental and vision coverage. For anything else, there's a high deductible of $5,000. Steep - but catastrophic injury or disease care can run into the tens of thousands.

It was enough to lure Joe Sanroman, a framing contractor from California, who spend his early 20s without health insurance.

"It's worth it to pay that little bit of money a month and then be OK, be able to go to the doctor when you need to," Sanroman said.

So far Tonik is only available in six states, but the company is working to expand into all 15 states where Blue Cross Blue Shield already operates, including New York.

"I'm not a doctor," Doerr said. "I don't know if I'm really sick. And I don't want it to get to the point where one day, I finally go in and they're like it's too late."

A fear Doerr feels she can't escape, because, for her, the price tag for health insurance remains out of reach.