A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

The Young Invincibles

The Young Invincibles

March 29, 2007

Check out this first rate piece in New York Magazine on "The Young Invincibles: They’re young and healthy, and insurance is expensive. As long as they don’t catch the flu, slip on the ice, crash a bike, snowboard into a tree, rupture an appendix, or get hit by a bus, everything will be fine. Right?" Outstanding journalism by David Amsden. Best treatment of this issue I've ever seen. Great comments by Karen Davis from the Commonwealth Fund. Interesting contrast between New York and Massachusetts (two highly regulated insurance markets). New York's individual insurance market is based on "pure" community rating -- meaning individual market insurance rates are the same for everyone, regardless of age. Better deal with folks 45-65, and worse deal for folks 18-39. Massachusetts has "modified" community rating, meaning rates vary by age constrained by a 2-1 ratio. Better deal for the young and worse deal with older folks. Which approach is better? On balance, we think the MA approach makes more sense because it makes is easier for the large number of younger folks to get it. But it's sure open to argument.