24% of Millennials Lack Health Insurance

Approximately one in four Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 lacks health insurance (24%), according to a new insuranceQuotes​.com report. Despite the Affordable Care Act's mandate that all Americans have health insurance, the report found 16% of all adults do not have health insurance. Millennials are 10 percentage points more likely to lack health insurance than people 30 and older.

"A lot has been made of the so-​called 'young invincibles' who are choosing to forgo health insurance," said Laura Adams, senior analyst, insuranceQuotes​.com. "This could be a costly mistake, especially because this group has easy access to health insurance. Young people typically pay much lower prices to obtain coverage via the health insurance exchanges and can receive subsidies depending on their income. Plus, they can stay on their parents' health insurance policies until age 26."

insuranceQuotes​.com observed that 18–29 year-​olds are less likely than all other age groups to have health, auto, life, homeowner's, renter's and disability insurance. While some of this can be attributed to living with their parents or having fewer assets to protect, there is ample evidence that millennials are unprepared for potential financial risks.

  • For example, only 12% of millennials have renter's insurance. This coverage can be very inexpensive (around $10 per month in many cases). It provides liability coverage and replaces personal belongings if they are damaged or stolen.
  • Sixty-​four percent of 18–29 year-​olds lack life insurance. The most common explanation was that it costs too much, but $500,000 of 20-​year level term life insurance can cost less than $20 per month for a young adult. The second-​most common response was, "I'm healthy and don't need life insurance," which matches up with the popular 'young invincibles' explanation for lacking health insurance.
  • Even car insurance – mandatory in all states except for New Hampshire – is not particularly popular among millennials. Thirty-​six percent of 18–29 year-​olds do not have auto insurance. This might be because the number of young adult drivers has fallen in recent years, as other reports have found.

Despite all of this evidence that Millennials do not have a lot of insurance, most of these young consumers are confident they are prepared for the financial consequences of car accidents, having their belongings stolen, incurring substantial medical bills or becoming disabled. Sixty percent of 18–29 year-​olds are either very or somewhat confident that they are prepared for those risks; older adults are equally confident in their own preparations.

According to AudienceSCAN, about 11% of U.S. adults will purchase medical insurance this year. These consumers skew older with 45% being age 55+. While these consumers are shopping for medical insurance, they'll be using medical services at a higher than average rate. In the next year about 15% will visit a dermatologist, 20% will make an appoinment with an OB/​GYN, and 53% will have an eye appointment. Newspaper advertising continues to be an effective way to reach these consumers. At least 35% say they've taken action as the result of a newspaper ad they've seen in the past 30 days.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.