Nicole Stejskal

It’s a typical Monday morning. As you roll over to turn off your alarm clock, wishing the weekend had lasted longer, you realize that you’re having some trouble breathing. An unmistakable pain pierces your throat as you try to verbally wake your roommate. Climbing out of bed, you feel your body ache as you walk to the bathroom. As you stare at yourself in the mirror, you come face-to-face with reality: you’re sick.

Like most college students, you’ll visit the Student Health Center on campus or see a local doctor, where you’ll receive scripts for medication. For many, the visit and prescriptions come at no cost: one of the perks provided to you courtesy of your parents’ health insurance plan.

But what happens once you graduate from college and venture out into the real world? As much as your parents may love you, they can’t pay for your health care forever. And if you decide to get married and start a family, one of the best ways to protect your family is with a proper health insurance plan.

While this may seem irrelevant to you now, the time will soon come for you to consider the future of your health and well-being. Words like premiums, providers and deductibles will all need to become a part of your vocabulary eventually, and with the current debates on health care reform, now is the opportune time to get informed.

However, if that isn’t argument enough, let me put a few things into perspective for you. According to the latest Census Bureau data, in 2007, 45 million people were living without health insurance. Of that number, 13.2 million were adults ages 19 to 29 – nearly 30 percent. Considering that our age group – 19 to 29 – only makes up 15 percent of the nation’s population, one can see that we make up a significant amount of the country’s uninsured citizens.

As problems like these arise throughout the health care controversy, it’s important to let people in power know why our age group makes up such a large part of the uninsured. Maybe it’s because health care is so expensive that we can’t afford it while working at entry-level jobs and paying off student loans. Or maybe those first jobs we get right out of college don’t offer health insurance to their employees.Whatever the reason may be, we need to let our voices be heard. Contact a state representative. Attend a town hall meeting. Get a group of fellow students together to take action. Let it be known that people our age are having just as many problems with health care as everyone else.

I encourage you to watch the news, pick up a newspaper or check out the headlines from an online news source. Learn more about the issues surrounding health care reform, and voice your opinions on the situation. Trust me, it’ll be good for your health.