The introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) brought quite a few changes to the U.S. healthcare system, but if Millennials have anything to say about it, the changes are far from over.
According to a study recently conducted by the insurance experts at Bankrate, Millennials are quickly becoming one of the pickier age groups when it comes to choosing health insurance; despite a strong push from insurers to subscribe to plans that have higher deductibles and lower premiums, Millennials state that they’d rather pay high premiums in order to pay less at the doctor’s office.
Time cites analyst Doug Whiteman from Bankrate as saying that these findings are surprising, considering that Millennials come from an “age group [which is] not likely to get sick.” Paying higher fees upfront, therefore, could — and should — seem like a waste of money for young people who are less likely to make regular doctor visits.
Between the Millennials who have chosen these high-coverage plans and the two million Millennials who have signed up for Obama’s ACA, there remains a group of adults, dubbed the “young invincibles” by the healthcare industry, who have refused to sign up for any health insurance at all. According to government data, it’s estimated that nearly one-third of all people in their 20s and 30s are part of this group.
But according to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than two-thirds of adults ages 18 to 34 have signed up for silver health insurance plans, which involve much higher premiums than “catastrophic plans.”
The question that Time reporter Kara Brandeisky asks, then, is why Millennials seem to be either opting for the insurance plans that their parents had, despite this “young invincible” persona that the industry has given them. And the answer, it seems, is that “‘young invicibles’ don’t feel so invincible after all.” They are “risk-averse” and know that they’d have trouble paying healthcare costs if an emergency does occur, which is supported by the Bankrate findings that more than one-quarter of all 18 to 29-year-olds have no emergency savings at all.
“Right now in urgent care, we’re seeing higher deductibles — some of them are up to $10-12 thousand, which are designed for catastrophic injuries or illnesses. Yet higher deductibles means more out of pocket payments at primary care and urgent care centers, and that’s what the Millennial generation is doing right now,” explains Terri Porter, Clinic Administrator at Doctors Express Phoenix. “They’re banking on not being ill, and I believe this trend will be the norm for the next couple decades.”
While these health insurance findings may be baffling to insurance experts who are used to analyzing the thought patterns of the Baby Boomer generation, it appears that Millennials might be a step ahead of the health insurance industry. They may not know all of the jargon when it comes to signing up for insurance plans, but they’re either going to do their research and sign up for plans that provide the most security, or they’re going to stay away from health insurance plans altogether.