Report: Young adults aren't invincible, they're 'cost-sensitive'

It's a stigma that young adults tend to be unconcerned with health coverage and unaware of its benefits, but a new Deloitte report shows they're actually well-versed in health insurance--they just want a higher return on the money they spend for it.

Out of the 500 young adults surveyed, about 66 percent did not sign up for coverage this past enrollment period because they could not afford it. More than 50 percent who remain uninsured didn't visit an exchange website. Those who did purchase coverage cited certain reasons for doing so, such as paying medical bills, securing peace of mind and avoiding paying the penalty. 

Most notably, more than 50 percent of the survey participants were not aware of federal subsidies, or that they can stay on their parents' plans until they're 26 years old, as FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

In other words, the Deloitte authors say, young adults are "cost-sensitive." Most of the young consumers who enrolled in an exchange plan also received subsidies, while many qualified for Medicaid. What's more, the young adults weren't swayed by risk-tolerance when deciding whether to purchase a policy. Price, affordability, benefits and technical issues were the key barriers.

"To enroll and retain young adults, policy makers and the insurance industry must first understand them," the report said. "When it comes to health insurance, young adults' preferences are clear: They generally want coverage, they want it to provide value, they need it to be affordable and they require information through relevant channels to navigate their options."

To learn more:
- here's the Deloitte survey