5 percent of U.S. adults say they don't need a healthcare plan

Aug. 22, 2013 at 1:28 AM
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NEW YORK, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Only 5 percent of U.S. young adults say they turned down health insurance coverage because they felt they didn't need it, a survey indicates.

A Commonwealth Fund survey of U.S. adults ages 19-29 found 67 percent said they took health insurance benefits from an employer if offered, but for those who did not enroll in an employer health plan most said they were covered by a parent, spouse, or partner, while 22 percent said they couldn't afford the premiums.

"There is a stereotype that young adults believe they are 'invincible' and don't want or need health insurance," Sara Collins, vice president of the Commonwealth Fund, said in a statement.

"This survey showed that is a myth -- a typical uninsured young adult is from a low- or middle-income family and works a low-wage job. In general, young adults value health insurance but cannot afford it."

The Commonwealth Fund report found the number of uninsured young adults dropped from 18.1 million in 2011 to 15.7 million in 2013, and that an estimated 7.8 million were enrolled in a parent's health plan last year.

Without the Affordable Care Act of 2010, these 7.8 million young adults would most likely have been have been eligible for any other health insurance, the report said.

Eighty-two percent of young adults who were uninsured for a time in 2013 lived in low- or middle-income households and would be eligible for subsidized insurance through the marketplaces or through Medicaid, the report said.

However, the survey found only 27 percent of young adults were aware of the state health insurance marketplaces beginning Oct. 1, which provides those with no health insurance from an employer to get health insurance as an individual. For those low- or middle-income, a government tax credit helps pay for the insurance coverage.

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