An eye-opening project for 20-somethings
What's it like to be in your 20s and uninsured?
This spring, our group of University of Minnesota journalism students created a blog called "The Uninsured" for a project in professor Gary Schwitzer's senior reporting class on health and medical reporting.
Students were encouraged to use some type of multimedia element for the projects. Our group chose to create a blog, and to use sound slides in addition to regular print and video. You can see our project — "The Uninsured: You're in your 20s. Why should you care?" — here.
In the beginning, it was hard to get going because it's such a huge topic.
We started by trying to find people who were uninsured and in their 20s. We found two full-time students at the university who were uninsured (as of April and therefore in violation of the Student Conduct Code), one student who was uninsured until coming to the U, and one man in his 20s who is currently uninsured but working full time. This led us to conclude that while some people in their 20s work full time and might want health insurance, they can't afford it.
We learned a lot of surprising statistics about the general uninsured population, and specifically those in their 20s. One statistic that stuck out was that across the country, in 2006, twice as many people died from a lack of health insurance as from homicide, according to Families USA, a nonprofit advocacy group for the uninsured.
We found a doctor in a small town hospital who told us what would happen if someone came into a hospital needing health care and didn't have insurance. We also learned that if an uninsured person got injured and needed to go to the doctor or emergency room, it would cost thousands of dollars.
The main thing we learned is that ignoring this problem will just make it worse, and so we think it's time to get the word out there so people will know about it. It's an important cause.
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