Happy 26th birthday! Feeling lucky?

Young adults turning 26 may weigh the pros and cons of obtaining health insurance when they age off their parent's health plans

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turning 26 infographic image Jan 2015 Excellus BCBS

ROCHESTER, NY (01/29/2015)(readMedia)-- If you're an uninsured young adult in upstate New York and you break your leg while skiing, you could face almost $8,000 in medical bills, according to research by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

Likewise, an unanticipated visit to the emergency room could cost you $1,000- the equivalent of up to 10 months of cell phone bills for the average iPhone user, according to the research in the infographic, Happy 26th Birthday! Feeling Lucky?

In 2015, more than 280,000 young adults in New York state will turn 26, with many of them aging off of their parent's health insurance.

"When it comes to obtaining health insurance, some may weigh the risks and rewards of receiving coverage," said Jamie Kerr, M.D., vice president, chief medical officer for utilization management, Excellus BCBS. "Even if they're willing to gamble, they may still be saddled with a financial penalty for not having health insurance coverage when they file their income tax."

Those who are uninsured in 2015 could face a financial penalty of $325 per person or up to 2 percent of household income, whichever is higher.

Cost is often a contributing factor when choosing to forgo coverage. But individuals who make less than $46,680 annually could qualify for financial help. In 2014, New Yorkers received an average of almost $2,600 in tax credits.

Another reason some go without coverage is because they don't believe they will get hurt or sick and need coverage, said Kerr.

"Thousands of upstate New Yorkers will face unexpected health problems, such as developing a concussion or a severe case of bronchitis," she said. "An individual's health plan protects him or her from the unexpected costs of health care."

When it comes to purchasing coverage, individuals may be able to turn to their employers, government programs, health insurers, college plans, or the NY State of Health Marketplace.

The deadline to buy health insurance through the NY State of Health Marketplace is Feb. 15, 2015. But if you experience a major life event -- such as a marriage, a birth of a new baby or you age off your parent's plan when you turn 26 -- you may be able to purchase coverage for 2015 after the Feb. 15 date.

The Excellus BCBS infographic covers the types of medical costs that uninsured young adults turning 26 in upstate New York may face. The infographic also details possible benefits of obtaining coverage, including no cost for preventive services such as regular checkups, a $600 gym reimbursement and prescription drug coverage.

To access the infographic, go to http://brand.excellusbcbs.com/infographics/turning26.php

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to about 1.6 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools. To learn more, visit excellusbcbs.com.