Young adult signs up for “sense of security” after graduation

Veronica Quintero

Veronica Quintero, Miss Seafair 2011, enrolled in Washington state’s health care exchange.

Many uninsured young adults are recent college graduates who are either unemployed or underemployed.

But even university students who have access to affordable health insurance through their institutions sometimes forgo signing up.

Eligible but unenrolled

For two years, while attending the University of Washington, Veronica Quintero went without coverage. She didn’t enroll in her school’s health plan because, even as an uninsured student, she received reduced medical rates. “I opted out of enrolling in a plan because I felt healthy and because I was rarely seeking medical health care,” Quintero said.

By Quintero’s graduation in June 2013, however, she had come to recognize the value of health care, just as her eligibility was expiring.

Preventive care post cancer scare

That Quintero hadn’t sought insurance earlier is more surprising given her status as a cancer survivor. At the age of nine, Quintero, now 22, was diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer. “I went through several months of chemotherapy and thankfully since the day my doctor declared me free of cancer, I’ve had no complications, “ she said.

But she realized that “signing up for insurance means having a sense of security.” Last fall she enrolled in a plan via the Washington Healthplanfinder.

Ms. Quintero, who was Miss SeaFair 2011, now plans to take advantage of her health care plan. “As a cancer survivor, I realize that preventive care is extremely important and I plan to make it a part of my life going forward,” she said.

Advocacy in the Hispanic community

Quintero has become an advocate in the Hispanic community for the new health exchange.

“I was able to educate my own parents, who speak no English,” she said. “My dad is already seeking treatment for several health issues that he had been ignoring because he couldn’t afford medical care. As seasonal migrant farm workers, health insurance through their job is nonexistent.”

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