The Associated Press, published by The Register Guard January 30, 2016
by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
WASHINGTON — Millions of young adults healthy enough to think they don’t need insurance face painful choices this year as the sign-up deadline approaches for President Obama’s health care law.
Fines for being uninsured rise sharply in 2016 — averaging nearly $1,000 per household, according to an independent estimate. It’s forcing those in their 20s and 30s to take a hard look and see if they can squeeze in coverage to avoid penalties. Many are trying to establish careers or just make progress in a still-bumpy economy.
“There’s only so far one can dwindle a ramen-noodle diet,” said Christopher Rael of Los Angeles. In his late 20s, Rael is pursuing a degree in sociology and working at a children’s center to pay his bills.
With open enrollment over after Jan. 31, Rael is hoping his meager income will qualify him for Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid. “I cannot afford an additional bill,” he said. He paid a fine of about $150 for being uninsured in 2014.