Published 10/07 2013 08:58PM

Updated 10/07 2013 09:17PM

Coverage under the Affordable Care Act is set to kick in January 1st, 2014. And the marketplace, or exchange, to choose your insurance opened October 1st, 2013. If you're turning 26, and can no longer stay on your parent's health insurance plan - you're going to face a decision - buy health care or don't. Dr. Frank Dubeck says it's worth your while to explore coverage.

“If you don't have health insurance, all those free preventable services you can't get. In order to get a free physical, free immunizations, and all those things that health care reform says will be no out of pocket, you have to have insurance."

Otherwise, these seemingly small medical expenses add up. As do emergencies, or typical expenses for those in their 20s or 30s.

"Having a baby, very common for that age group is about $16,000, [including] the bill from the hospital, obstetrician, if you did not have insurance,” says Dubeck. If you broke an arm or a leg, about almost $8,000."

That could be three, four months’ salary for a young person in their 20s. Purchasing it before used to be quite costly, but Dubeck says the Affordable Care Act has actually made insurance more affordable. And for young people in their 20s, you could qualify for a subsidy that makes it even less expensive.

“For New York State there's a website, the New York State of Health, if they go on that there's actually a tax calculator, where you put in your geography, income, how many dependents you have, all those factors, and it tells you what subsidy you would be eligible for," says Dubeck.

And then that would be applied to the exchange. For the young and invincible, who may think they're in good enough health to not purchase insurance, Dr. Dubeck recommends they reconsider.

"If you start taking care of yourself now, you know if there's a cholesterol problem, obesity problem, blood pressure problem, by jumping on it now, and controlling it, you'll be less likely to develop these chronic illnesses when you hit your 40s and 50s.”

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