Lansing Township’s youth warily watch for changes in health care coverage

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Antonio Baker prepares an iced coffee drink for a customer at Biggby Coffee in Lansing Township. Photo by Hannah Holliday.

Antonio Baker prepares an iced coffee drink for a customer at Biggby Coffee in Lansing Township. Photo by Hannah Holliday.

Antonio Baker stands behind the counter of Biggby Coffee located on 1701 S. Waverly Road, and prepares an iced coffee drink for a customer. He has few worries while he’s focused on his job.

Antonio Baker prepares an iced coffee drink for a customer at Biggby Coffee in Lansing Township. Photo by Hannah Holliday.

Antonio Baker prepares an iced coffee drink for a customer at Biggby Coffee in Lansing Township. Photo by Hannah Holliday.

One of them definitely isn’t health care, at least not today.

Biggby Coffee is one company that does not offer part time health benefits to its employees, which isn’t uncommon for part-time employees, according to healthcare.gov, “Employers aren’t required to provide health insurance for part-time employees, even if they provide coverage for full-time employees. ”

Therefore, Baker remains a dependent with his health care being covered under his parent’s insurance.

Summer McGee who is an Associate Professor of Bioethics and Health Policy and program director of Healthcare Administration at the University of New Haven believes that the decision to buy health insurance is a personal one that involves many factors including the perceived value of having insurance, affordability and health status.

From 2011-2015, Lansing Charter Township had 8.4 percent of its population without health insurance under the age of 65 years old. This is higher than the Michigan state average of 7.1 percent, according to the United States Census Bureau.

For the younger demographic like Baker, President Donald Trump’s new health care plans could be worrisome in the future.

“I’m scared that [health care] is going to be ridiculous by the time I have to pay for it by myself,” Baker said. “I don’t know what I’ll do when I’m no longer covered under my parents, but honestly that’s too far in the future.”

According to Lansing Township Supervisor Diontrae Hayes, many young people who live in the township choose to stay covered under their parent’s insurance for as long as they can.

“When you say younger township residents the bulk of them would be covered under their parent’s insurance,” Hayes said. “According to the Obamacare Act those under the age of 26 can be on their parent’s health insurance.”

According to healthcare.gov, “Generally, you can join a parent’s plan and stay on until you are 26 even if you get married, have or adopt a child, start or leave school, live in or out of your parent’s home, aren’t claimed as tax dependent, or turn down an offer of job-based coverage.”

McGee also feels that the younger population isn’t the only demographic that might not be interested in being insured.

The Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton-Eaton-Ingham Counties building. Photo by Hannah Holliday.

The Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton-Eaton-Ingham Counties building. Photo by Hannah Holliday.

“The so-called ‘young invincible’ get the most attention for being uninsured, but people across all ages choose not to buy health insurance and to pay the tax penalty instead for a wide range of personal reasons, McGee said. “National data shows that the uninsured are found across all demographic groups including those who are working full time, have children, and those who are eligible for government assistance to buy health insurance.”

According to Hayes, obtaining health care in the township isn’t a struggle for most residents since many people are employed full-time.

“I would say that just knowing how healthcare works on a national scale in the United States that most of our residents have access to health insurance through their own employers,” Hayes said. “Therefore they do not need to provide it on their own.”

Health care doesn’t just affect people. Even the Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton, & Ingham counties says on its Web site that it is constantly trying to maintain and respond to the changing health care environment.

According to a human resources representative at the authority, they do serve Lansing Township residents.

Baker is just one young person in Lansing Township who is choosing to hopefully wait out the Trump administration and the changing health care policies before he makes drastic decisions about his coverage.

“By the time I’m going to be having my insurance maybe [Trump’s] four-year term will be over,” Baker said. “So I’ll definitely be playing it by year.”