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Why are young people still avoiding insurance exchanges?

Health Care and Health Insurance
by Josh Hammerquist
Why are young people still avoiding insurance exchanges?
Why are young people still avoiding insurance exchanges?

State and federal agents are making the final push to get people of all ages enrolled in the health insurance exchanges mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act before the March 31 sign-up deadline. However, it seems that many young people in particular are still not getting involved in the marketplace, and that there are several reasons this is the case.

Chief among these is that young people consider themselves to be healthy and therefore think they don't need health coverage at all, according to a report from ABC News. Of course, this has long been an issue with the exchanges, and explains why the majority of those who are already enrolled are between the ages of 45 and 64 years old. The so-called "Young Invincible" problem has led to just 24 percent of sign-ups being between 18 and 34, even as the Obama administration originally targeted this group to make up about 40 percent of enrollment.

In addition to this fact, though, many young people seem turned off by the fact that they're going to face far greater costs for coverage than they would have prior to the coverage mandate going into effect, the report said. Many studies have shown their premium costs will skyrocket, even though they will likely be going to the doctor's office as infrequently as ever.

Other concerns still linger
Even beyond these issues, there's also the fact that young people visiting the emergency room in the event of an urgent medical concern will still face significant costs regardless of whether they have insurance, the report said. These could end up costing thousands of dollars in any event, even with health insurance coverage through the exchanges. Because they generally think of themselves as being healthy, they might be less inclined to obtain a policy that cannot guarantee health costs will be manageable for them in the future. For many young people, going without insurance and therefore also paying the federal fine, cost about a fifth of the cost of buying insurance.

Health insurance issuers may want to join those involved in the final push for enrollment, as it will not only help people to avoid these fines, but also help them to see the benefit that having health insurance can provide them, even if they do not necessarily think they're going to end up needing it.

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