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Why This Texas 'Young Invincible' Bought Obamacare

Lauren Silverman
Misty Parker, 31, purchased health insurance through the federal exchange and received a subsidy.

In the first two months of Obamacare, 14,000 Texans purchased insurance. One of them was Misty Parker. This so-called “young invincible” has a premium of $38 a month.

When Misty Parker, 31, left her job and lost her health insurance in 2012, she started to search for a new position, with benefits. But like many millennials, she’s looking to make a difference — and it wasn’t easy to find a job that offered both revolution and health insurance.

“Because the things I’m most passionate about don’t tend to make a lot of money,” Parker says.

That’s where Obamcare comes in.

“When I found out I qualified for a subsidy through Obamacare,” she says, “I decided to just go for it.”

Heart Of Gold, Plan Of Bronze

Misty Parker took a job with Recycle Revolution near Deep Ellum in Dallas. It’s a small company that doesn’t offer insurance, but because of her Obamacare subsidy, she can afford coverage.

Her bill is $38 a month — a subsidized rate available to someone like her making $12 an hour. It’s a bronze plan with a $6,000 deductible.

“If I had to pay that for some reason, it’s not going to destroy me,” Parker says.

The Need For ‘Young Invincibles’ 

Many millenials won’t find plans cheaper than their cell phone bills – as President Obama has said. The federal government predicted about 40 percent of young adults will pay less than $100 in premiums for exchange plans – but without subsidies, a 27-year-old North Texan would pay around $200 a month for the lowest cost bronze plan.

That can be a hard sell for young people:

“There’s a lot of interest in getting health insurance, but one of the key barriers has been affordability,” says Stacey Pogue. She’s with the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin.

Health policy experts like Pogue agree the success of Obamacare depends on getting the millennial generation to sign up.

“That’s what keeps premiums stable is this mix of healthy and sicker individuals all in the same insurance pool,” she says.

Planning For The Unexpected

The Obama administration estimates over a third of the people on the exchanges need to be in the 18-to-35 range to hold premiums down to reasonable levels.

We still don’t have official numbers of how many young invincibles signed up in Texas. But it’s obvious some are purchasing health care, and don’t consider themselves “invisible.”

“I’m pretty healthy,” Misty Parker says, “but with riding my bike all the time (…) especially in a city like Dallas that isn’t really bike friendly, I wanted to have coverage.”

Parker says she also wants to be able to go in for checkups and not worry about how much it is going to cost.

She plans to make an appointment with her doctor in January.

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.