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Author
Shelby Holliday
Date
October 1, 2013

Benefitless

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Young retail workers are among the many Americans in need of health insurance. Working part-time squeezes them out of benefit-land, while working full-time doesn’t necessarily guarantee employer-sponsored health care.

“In a survey that we did last year at the Retail Action Project, 70% of retail workers did not get health insurance through their employers, and most often they are young workers,” Flor Ramirez of the Retail Action Project told me in an interview this week. She is helping some of these young workers understand their rights under Obamacare.

Young people working in other industries — like the restaurant business — often face the same issues.

“It’s making me reconsider the kind of jobs I get,” said restaurant worker Harrison Spencer. Harrison has a full-time job, but the lack of insurance is stressing him out.

“I mean I’m very healthy, I have nothing wrong with me, but I’m really worried like if I don’t have health insurance and anything happens, I will end up in debt the rest of my life,” said Spencer.

It’s a dilemma millions of young people are thinking about this week as state exchanges open up across the country- and it brings up some interesting questions not just about Obamacare, but about industry practices and policies as well.

Then you have other young people who just don’t seem to care.

“I’m on the Whole Foods heath plan,” John Wesley told me. “I eat organic, exercise, and hope I don’t get into any accidents.”

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