The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare, created a lot of change in the health insurance market. During the newest enrollment period, millennials will continue to be an important target of enrollment efforts. Without young adults enrolling in health insurance coverage, the insurance risk could become dangerously skewed.

The Importance of Young Adult Enrollment

Young adults tend to be one of the healthiest segments of the American population. As a result, having them enrolled in health insurance is an important aspect of balancing out the premium vs. payout risk for insurance companies. Unfortunately, because they are healthier, they are much less likely to believe they need insurance.

In addition, young adults often have less money available than older Americans, leading them to see health insurance as an expensive, needless bill. Health insurance providers and government agencies are doing their best to point out to young adults that insurance is important and can be affordable.

During the 2013-2014 ACA enrollment period, the Health and Human Services (HHS) department reported that 28 percent of enrollments were from Americans between the ages of 18-34, while they represented 40 percent of those eligible for Marketplace coverage. Although young adults are often healthy, they still need preventive health checkups and coverage for accidents or other unexpected health issues. Fortunately, millennials have a lot of options when it comes to obtaining insurance.

Young Adult Coverage Options

One of the changes made by the ACA is that young Americans can stay on their parent’s health insurance policy until the age of 26. In addition, they may receive coverage from their employer, or they may be covered by a college student health plan.

Millennials may also get private health insurance through the Marketplace in their state. In this way, they will find out if they qualify for financial assistance with monthly premiums and/or cost-sharing. They will also be able to see if they qualify for Medicaid or if their children can find coverage under the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP).

One extra option that only exists for young adults is the availability of catastrophic health insurance plans for Americans under 30. These plans have very high deductibles, but can help millennials avoid serious financial issues in a worst-case scenario, like an accident or serious illness. Because of the high deductible, these plans have lower monthly premiums and are more affordable for young Americans.

Regardless of what they choose, the hope is that millennials will choose to have health insurance coverage. This will help the insurance market stay stable, while also protecting young Americans from financial catastrophe should a serious health need arise.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_spiral_(insurance)

https://www.healthcare.gov/young-adults/college-students/

https://www.healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/eligibility/

https://www.healthcare.gov/young-adults/catastrophic-plans/