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Report: Young Adults Avoiding Doctor Visits Due To Cost

By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A new report from a New York-based health care think tank says a growing number of young adults are skipping the doctor's office, and the rising cost of health care is to blame.

The report by the Commonwealth Fund says 41 percent of those between 19 and 29 did not get medical care over the past year because of the cost.  And among the uninsured, the figure jumped to 60 percent.

Stefan, 23, from Philadelphia is uninsured.  He says his knees are in bad shape because of skateboarding injuries through the years.

Despite the need to get treated, he says, he can't afford to see the doctor.

"You kind of just sit there until something terrible happens, and that's all you can really do," he told KYW Newsradio today.
Putting it in historical perspective is Drexel University law and health professor Robert Field.  He says that over the past few decades, those in their 20s had the lowest rate of coverage.

"It's become more serious as health care costs have risen, and the risk of major medical financial burdens has gone up along with it."

He says young adults face problems with unemployment or underemployment, and view the health care system as too complex.  He worries about people skipping care now that could prevent serious problems later.

He also says the health care law provision allowing young adults to stay under their parents' insurance plans until the age of 26 has been helpful. And even if the US Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate, he says that provision may still survive.

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