If the price is right, most uninsured--even young invincibles--likely to consider new health insurance marketplaces.
Health Insurance Exchanges
A key issue for the new insurance exchanges under national health reform is whether enough younger and healthier people will take advantage of new subsidized coverage on Jan. 1, 2014. Without enough good risks to offset older and sicker people who are likely to jump at the opportunity to gain more-affordable coverage, the exchanges risk significant adverse selection--attracting a sicker-than-average population--that will drive up premiums. Key to persuading younger and healthier uninsured people to opt for coverage will be convincing them that health insurance is a good deal, according to a new national study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). While most uninsured people believe health insurance is important, far fewer now believe coverage is affordable and worth the cost. However, new federal subsidies for lower-to-middle-income people may change the calculus of whether coverage is affordable. While uninsured people who are younger, have few or no health problems, and are self-described risk-takers are more likely to believe they can go without health insurance, even a majority of these so-called young invincibles believe health insurance is important. The findings indicate that most uninsured people are not inherently resistant to the idea of having health insurance. The main challenge will be to convince them that new coverage options under national health reform are affordable and offer enough protection to offset the medical and financial risks of going without health coverage.