Young Adults Unaware Of Obamacare HIE Options
By Dr. James Palermo // August 24, 2013
OBAMACARE NEEDS YOUNG, HEALTHY ENROLLEES
Bringing young, healthy people into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, aka Obamacare) health insurance exchanges (HIE) is key to holding down the premium increases that could come from guaranteeing coverage to older, sicker patients who have been unable to buy insurance in the past.
The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that promotes improvement in healthcare practice and policy, recently reported on data they compiled about young adults ahead of the PPACA’s implementation. The two-year poll tracked how adults between the ages of 19 and 29 are reacting to Obamacare.
PPACA ‘UP TO 26’ PROVISION IS BOON FOR INSURING YOUNG ADULTS
According to the Commonwealth report, the PPACA provision allowing adults younger than 26 years of age to stay on their parents’ healthcare plans has already had a significant impact on the number of uninsured in that demographic.
As of March, 51 percent of adults younger than 26 had either joined or stayed on their parents’ healthcare plans—up from 47 percent in 2011–accounting for 3.1 million more young adults with insurance coverage under the PPACA.
ALMOST 13 MILLION ELIGIBLE FOR INSURANCE SUBSIDIES OR MEDICAID
The Commonwealth researchers project that more than 80 percent of the estimated 15.7 million young adults who spent some time uninsured between March 2012 and March 2013 will be eligible next year for subsidized insurance or Medicaid.
The results of the survey help to dispel what has been a relatively popularly held notion that young adults don’t think they need health insurance. According to the Commonwealth study, these young adults are more interested in purchasing health coverage than some experts may think.
73% OF YOUNG ADULTS UNAWARE OF INSURANCE OPTIONS
However the high prices and low awareness of the new Obamacare HIEs opening may keep many from signing up.
Just 27 percent of those polled had heard of the HIE marketplaces, and the survey showed that those young adults with low incomes who will qualify for financial assistance were especially unaware of health insurance options that will be available to them under Obamacare.
The Obama administration clearly recognizes that outreach will be critical to ensure that young adults’ awareness grows over time, and the White House and proponents of the PPACA are in the midst of an aggressive campaign to educate and recruit eligible young adults to enroll in coverage through the HIEs.
MEDICAID EXPANSION KEY TO AFFORDABLE COVERAGE FOR MANY
The Commonwealth Fund, which is a staunch supporter of the PPACA, concludes their 2013 Health Insurance Tracking Survey of Young Adults, with the following statement: “The major risk to young adults gaining health insurance, however, is the reluctance of many state governments to expand their Medicaid programs. With nearly 30 percent of uninsured young adults living in households that are below poverty and thus excluded from both the Medicaid expansion and subsidized private plans, states that do not take action will be jeopardizing the ability of many of their residents to obtain affordable health care.”