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32-year-old Richard Boll knows the risk of not having health insurance.
"I've had a bunch of hospital stays when I didn't have health insurance," Boll said. "It kind of put me in a huge amount of debt that I'vehad to work myself out of."
But he says it's still an expense he can't afford.
"The places I've worked just don't provide it and it seems to try to do it on your own is very, very expensive," Boll said.
And experts say, that's not likely to change when the much-debated Affordable Care Act goes into effect in less than two years.
"If you went out on the insurance market and tried to buy a plan just for yourself, in 2014 it's estimated that plan will cost about $5,000," said John Graves, an assistant professor who specializes in health economics and health policy at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine.
And Boll, faced with buying a policy or paying a fine of around one percent of his annual salary, says, it's an easy decision.
"Probably the fine because, $5,000 a year, that s just not going to happen," Boll said. "At least not for me and for a lot of people I know."
Experts say he's just one of millions all over the country that makes too much money annually to qualify for free care and but not enough to afford his own.
"About 17 percent of the population under 65 or about 50 million people don't have health insurance," Graves said. He added that 1 in 3 25-to-30-year-olds is uninsured.
"Maybe they're working for lower wages and can't afford health insurance, they could be working as a contractor, maybe their employer doesn't offer health insurance at all," Graves said.
But what about the protections of the Affordable Care Act?
"It doesn’t really do anything for me," Boll said.
It has a provision where those under 27 can be covered by their parents plan...but Boll is too old. He also makes more than the $15,000 per year cap where individuals can qualify for Medicaid.
And that's why he says he has no choice but to take his chances and stay uninsured.
"And what's going to happen if I don t pay the fine," Boll asked. "I mean are they going to come arrest me? Put me in jail? Then at least I would have health insurance."
The uninsured don t just risk their own health, they also cost hospitals money. A Vanderbilt University representative says the Medical Center provided $371 Million in uncompensated care last year.
Tuesday, July 24 2012, 09:17 PM CDT
Prince Edward presents Edinburgh's awards in Tenn.
May 23, 2013 22:00 GMT
By ERIK SCHELZIG Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Queen Elizabeth's youngest son, Prince Edward, is visiting Tennessee to promote one of the British royal family's charities, the Duke of Edinburgh's awards.
The prince presided over an awards ceremony at the governor's mansion in Nashville on Thursday for the first batch of young Tennesseans to participate in the leadership and character program.
About 80 youths received the award by participating in community service, skills development, physical fitness and adventurous journeys through the Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, LEAD Academy, Montgomery Bell Academy or the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Organization.
Following the event, Gov. Bill Haslam and first lady Crissy Haslam invited the awardees and their families to tea inside the governor's residence. Later on Thursday, the prince was scheduled to headline a black-tie gala at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville.
Bernanke signals Fed to maintain stimulus efforts
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Chairman Ben Bernanke is telling Congress that the U.S. job market remains weak and that it is too soon for the Federal Reserve to end its extraordinary stimulus programs.
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AP Photo FX102, FX103
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By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
AP Business Writer
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LAKELAND, Minn. (AP) -- High school student Zach Sobiech (SOH'-bee-eck) says he wanted to be remembered as "a kid who went down fighting and didn't really lose."
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