The Magic Age of 26: When It’s Time to Cope With Insurance
It's a new phase of adulthood that involves paperwork, readiness, and money
The age of 18 is when teens legally move from minor to adult status, becoming able to vote in the U.S. It’s also when kids graduate from high school and move on to the workforce or college. For me, 18 was not a milestone. It simply meant I was going on the next journey, which was a college education. I never thought about moving out on my own. I was still dependent on my parents for insurance coverage and, fortunately, financial security. I was lucky.
The age of 21 is also monumental, allowing young adults the legal right to drink alcohol. It’s a rite of passage into true adulthood. When I was this age, there was still so much I didn’t know, and understanding the ins and outs of insurance and income tax was low on my list of priorities. I didn’t have significant health issues, so insurance was only necessary when I had the flu or strep throat and needed to see a doctor. I only knew about co-pays.
When I began my career as a teacher at 21, I had my own benefits and my dad at hand to help answer questions. With the Affordable Care Act, many young adults are on their parents’ insurance until 26. Parents with children 26 or older are slightly nervous if their child is not gainfully employed with insurance benefits. This is when young adults are forced to find their own insurance in the marketplace or, again, be fortunate to have benefits through their employer.
My oldest son, who has hemophilia, recently turned 26 and is a full-time student. I feel there was something I didn’t do correctly in his transition to adulthood. During his teen years, I did my best to explain the concept of insurance. I had him fill out forms and explain the difference between co-pays and deductibles. Somehow this information didn’t stick.
My son is now in a place where learning about insurance is necessary. He’s on his own, yet he includes me in phone calls because he’s still unsure how everything works. What could I have done differently? Where did I go wrong?
I don’t want to enable him by handling the business of his insurance, but he must understand the importance of knowing how it works. I’m afraid he’ll put his head in the sand and neglect his care.
My husband and I will continue educating him on the importance of the insurance system. However, I realize that I need to handle insurance education differently for my youngest son, who is 16 and also has hemophilia. Until an individual is genuinely in the middle of making decisions, making phone calls, and having to be the “adult,” insurance is a difficult concept to grasp, especially if you have a chronic condition.
It’s never too early to educate children about insurance. But one step at a time, we must impress upon our young adults the importance of understanding benefits.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.