Everybody else always knew that they weren’t really invincible, and now they seem to be grasping that fact as well. More than 70% of people 30 and younger say that having health insurance is very important to them, according to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation (https://www.kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-june-2013/). These have historically been called the “young invincibles” because of their belief that chances are slim that they’ll suffer serious illness or injury and that, therefore, they don’t need to buy insurance.
While this may be actuarially true for the group, the individual exceptions are one of the reasons for skyrocketing costs, as we at Managed Care have pointed out over the years. The foundation decided to zero in on this demographic because the success of the Affordable Care Act may very well depend on it. The healthy younger people will need to join the insurance pool to cover the costs for the rest of us.
“While young adults are sometimes described as viewing themselves as ‘young invincibles,’ the poll findings indicate that many young adults worry about affording medical bills, particularly catastrophic ones,” the report states. “Among those ages 30 and younger, roughly two thirds say they are worried about ‘not being able to pay medical bills in the event of a serious illness or accident,’ while over four in ten say they worry about affording medical bills ‘for routine health care services.’”
The concern over catastrophic illness is the main driver for all demographic groups, according to the report. Three quarters say that protection against such events is the reason they want coverage, while 23% say it’s to pay for things like check-ups and prescriptions.
Frank Diamond is managing editor of Managed Care.