Majority Of Uninsured Young Adults Believe Marketplace Coverage Is Unaffordable

The majority (66 percent) of currently uninsured young adults (those ages 19 to 34) did not purchase coverage on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Marketplace because they said it was unaffordable, according to recent research from Deloitte. In addition, 46 percent of uninsured young adults did not get coverage because they do not see the value of health insurance, whether due to costs outweighing benefits, inadequate plan choices, or feeling healthy and not needing coverage.

The study, Young Adults and Health Insurance: Not Invincible–But Perhaps Convincible, noted that ACA policymakers were hopeful that young individuals would sign up for Marketplace coverage, since their participation “could be key to balancing the older, sicker population whose expensive medical needs stood to burden new risk pools.” Of the 8 million individuals who signed up for Marketplace coverage, 28 percent, or 2.2 million individuals, were between the ages of 18 to 34.

Deloitte also found the following:

• Of the young adults who did purchase health coverage, the most important reasons that they decided to get coverage were: to pay medical bills (67 percent); to secure peace of mind (60 percent); and to avoid paying the federal penalty (49 percent).

• Half of those who signed up for coverage said Medicaid or subsidies were an important part of their decision, but more than half of all respondents (both those who signed up and those who did not) remain unaware of other ACA provisions, such as available subsidies to pay for coverage, or the ability to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26.

• Some young adults expressed interest in shopping on the Marketplaces for coverage; however 54 percent of uninsured young adults never visited or one of the state exchange websites during the open enrollment period.

The survey contains responses from 500 young adults ages 19 to 34 years and was conducted in April 2014. For more information, visit
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