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Sat Jul 20, 2013, 04:10 PM

Young Adults Want and Value Health Insurance - Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, June 2013


Young Adults Want and Value Health Insurance, Worry About Paying For Medical Care

One of the major goals of the ACA is to expand coverage to more people, and the June poll finds that health insurance is something the large majority of Americans want and value. Among the public overall, 87 percent say it is “very important” to them personally to have health insurance, 88 percent describe health insurance as “something I need,” and two-thirds (68 percent) say insurance is worth the money it costs.

Even among younger adults – a group that many have speculated may be resistant to getting coverage under the ACA – more than seven in ten rate having health insurance as “very important,” and similar shares feel it is something they need and that it is worth the money. Overall, just a quarter of those ages 18-30 feel they are healthy enough to go without insurance.

Figure 1

While young adults are sometime described as viewing themselves as “young invincibles,” the poll findings indicate that many young adults worry about affording medical bills, particularly catastrophic ones. 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 Uninsured Also See Coverage as Important, But Cost is the Biggest Barrier to Getting It

It’s not just the people who have insurance that value it: A majority of those who currently lack coverage also want it. Two-thirds of the uninsured say it is “very important” to them personally to have health insurance (with another 21 percent saying it is “somewhat important”), and three-quarters (76 percent) describe health insurance as “something I need.” Overall, only one in ten of the uninsured say coverage is not important to them, and just under a quarter believe they are healthy enough that they “don’t really need health insurance.” Compared with their insured counterparts, the uninsured are somewhat less convinced that health insurance is worth the money it costs, though a slim majority (56 percent) of those without insurance believe it is worth the money.

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