Young adults want coverage

By BenefitsPro

By Kathryn Mayer

Young invincibles they are not. A large majority of young adults say they want health insurance and believe it’s worth the expense, according to Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest health tracking poll released this week.

The information is important since young adults’ participation in the new law is important to its overall success. Experts say their participation will be important to balancing insurance pools and holding down premiums.

More than seven in 10 young adults — people ages 18 to 30 — say having health insurance is “very important,” and similar amounts feel it is something they need and that it is worth the money, according to the poll. That’s in part because of their fear of paying medical bills for a serious illness or accident.

Critics of the law have argued many young people will remain uninsured, choosing to pay the tax instead of buying expensive insurance.

It’s still a valid concern: According to Kaiser’s poll, a quarter of young adults feel they’re healthy enough to go without insurance.

A lot of it comes down to affordability.

Across all age groups, 40 percent of the uninsured people in the Kaiser poll said they lack insurance because it’s too expensive, compared with just 11 percent who said they don’t need it.

Still, the overall sentiment — that health insurance is something they want and value — is present among the majority of Americans across all age groups.

Nearly nine in 10 Americans (87 percent) say it’s “very important” to them personally to have health insurance, with another 9 percent saying it is “somewhat important.” Similarly, 88 percent say that “health insurance is something I need,” while 11 percent feel they’re healthy enough to go without it.

Unpopular and confusing

Though the idea of having health insurance is popular, health reform is not.

Unfavorable views of PPACA continue to outpace favorable ones again this month, by a margin of 43 percent to 35 percent.

The 43 percent of the public who have an unfavorable view of the law is comprised of 33 percent who say they hold that view because the law goes too far in changing the health care system, plus another 8 percent who say they don’t like the law because they think it doesn’t go far enough.

The remaining quarter of Americans remain undecided on the law.

The poll also found that a majority are still confused about the law and what it means to them. And the uninsured — a group that is most targeted by PPACA — is not any less aware of the implications of the law, even as the exchanges are set to begin open enrollment Oct. 1.

According to the survey, half of the uninsured said they’ve heard nothing at all about the marketplaces, while a third said they’ve heard “only a little.” One in 10 have heard “some” or “a lot.”

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