LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - In 2014, when President Barack Obama's healthcare reform takes full effect, more than 572,000 uninsured Arkansans will need to choose healthcare coverage or pay a penalty.
"I guess I'm not at the age where I can afford to think about things like that," says Josh Hobbs, a UALR student.
According to the Henry J. Kiser Association's health reform subsidy calculator, a single person with no insurance at age 27 with an annual income of $30,000 would pay an estimated annual premium of $2509 a year after subsidies.
That person could opt out of healthcare if they paid an estimated $300 penalty for the first year.
"Some young people are going to look at the premiums and say, 'I'm going to take the risk,'" said Alice Jones, communications director with the Arkansas Insurance Department.
Jones said young people electing insurance coverage are needed under the new act to offset the cost of older insurers with more health problems.
Today's THV interviewed students at UALR to see whether they would pay the healthcare premium or opt out, choosing to pay the penalty.
"$2500 for insurance, for sure. ...Because you need insurance in case emergencies happen," says Kiley Miller, a UALR student.
"If an emergency situation happened, I wouldn't want to have more debt in the long-run," says Waltin Zomaya, another UALR student.
"I'm going to get the insurance. ...I'm going to need insurance," says Barrington Price, also a UALR student.
"Who knows tomorrow if I'll fall off a ladder and break my leg. I need insurance," says Shelby Reed, a fourth UALR student.