Uninsured Rate Drops Among Millennials but Problems Still Exist

The uninsured rate for Millennials dropped from 23% in 2013 to 11% in 2016, yet many still feel uneducated about their options.

A recent survey found that the uninsured rate of Millennials, those born between 1980 and 1997, has dropped significantly, yet there are still issues facing this population.

The study, conducted by the Transamerica Center for Health Studies, included 1171 Millennials who were asked about insurance coverage, among other health-related questions. The researchers discovered that 54% of participants reported having been diagnosed with a chronic illness, and only 62% of uninsured participants said they were in good or excellent health.

The uninsured rate of Millennials in the study dropped from 23% in 2013 to 11% in 2016. Researchers also found that the private and public insured rate increased during this time.

Among the uninsured population, researchers found that only 3% of Asian/Pacific Islanders were uninsured compared with African Americans/Blacks (15% uninsured) and Latino/Hispanics (17% uninsured), who were the least likely to be insured. Although the uninsured rates decreased significantly in the past few years, education and costs for the uninsured remains a large barrier to gaining coverage.

More than half (55%) of uninsured Millennials did not feel they were informed about health insurance options compared with 35% of all Millennials, according to the study. The researchers found that most participants did not sign up for insurance through Affordable Care Act exchanges because they were uninformed or unaware of their options.

They discovered that 47% of uninsured participants were not planning on having insurance in the coming year, with a majority saying that cost is the reason that they will not be signing up. Skipping, delaying, or stopping treatment was a common practice among half of the participants to minimize healthcare costs.

These practices could potentially lead to worsening of symptoms and poor patient outcomes. To further improve uninsured rates among this population, a focus on educating the uninsured of their options should be adopted, as well as other cost saving practices, such as health plan shopping, should be implemented, according to the study.