Lawrence Forgy is the president of Health Kentucky. He says: "First of all, people who aren't insured need to get insured."
That's the message the nonprofit group, Health Kentucky, is trying to hammer into the minds of the estimated 517,000 people in the state who don't have health insurance. Officials with the organization say there are many young people with jobs who opt not to get health insurance because they don't think they'll need it.
Forgy says: "We think there are about 125,000-135,000 young Kentuckians, under 30, who make over $50,000 a year. And they are totally uninsured."
Many young adults lose their coverage when they turn 19 and no longer qualify under their parents policies. And the days of their employers footing the bill for health insurance are a thing of the past.
According to a study by the Kentucky Health Insurance Research Project 57 percent of small businesses in the state do not provide insurance.
Forgy says: "Because the cost of health care has gone up so dramatically people who employ people are not giving them insurance anymore. And they are out there either not taking it, or not able to afford it if it's available."
This month alone Health Kentucky is spending $220,000 on ads in Bowling Green, Lexington, and Louisville to plant the idea of getting health insurance into that demographic.
Forgy says: "It doesn't cost you an enormous amount to get affordable health insurance. We're talking about $50 a month for a 25-year-old man."
That ends up being $600 a year, which is less than most types of car insurance. That's something Health Kentucky wants to reiterate by asking why someone would insure their vehicle and not their own body.
Forgy says if the campaign to raise awareness about the necessity of individual health care plans is successful, they will find even more ways to spread their message.
Forgy says: "And if we can get them insured, they won't be such a drain on you and me."
For more information on Health Kentucky call 1-800-633-8300 or go to www.healthkentucky.org.
The average cost for a one night stay at a hospital is around $3600.
It can be less than that, but in most cases it's a great deal more. Now imagine what it would be like to get that bill and not have health insurance. Tomorrow night, in part two of "Uncovered" we'll tell you how the uninsured are costing you money, and about the burden they take on hospitals and emergency rooms.