Risks to the Uninsured Millennial – and how Millennial Mentors can Help

In a recent survey by ionTuition of college students, recent college graduates, and those planning to attend college were asked …

In a recent survey by ionTuition of college students, recent college graduates, and those planning to attend college were asked which employee benefit was most important. Over half of the respondents (55%) said they would prefer a student loan match to healthcare benefits. Because of the respondents’ age group, these Millennials may feel a youthful level of invincibility.

But even young people get sick or injured. They have a bike accident, slip while hiking a tough trail, get food poisoning or pneumonia on a trip. Let’s look at some of the most significant potential risks to Millennials for not having healthcare coverage.

Penalty

The first risk is a simple one – even if your Millennia remains relatively healthy, if they are in violation of the individual mandate for health insurance, they may be required to pay a penalty when filing their tax return. They will have to report by tax day that they did not have the required health insurance for the prior year. The individual mandate is not well received by Millennials or Consumers in general. No one likes being told they have to purchase something, but the individual mandate appears to be the critical component for Carriers, who are looking to enroll healthier young adults whose premium payments can help offset the high costs of chronic and terminally ill members.

Lack of Medical Services

Contrary to popular belief, healthcare providers are not required by law to provide medical services to individuals without insurance. Only emergency departments are legally bound to provide care.

The Transamerica Center for Health Studies recently released a report revealing that 62% of Americans have been diagnosed with a chronic health condition, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or being overweight or obese. The study also found that only 41% of uninsured Americans could afford to pay for their routine health expenses.

Transamerica’s executive director, Hector De La Torre, reports that, “Not having healthcare coverage can keep people from accessing free preventive care.” De La Torre explains that preventive care is crucial to spotting illness or conditions early before they can develop into full-blown critical problems. Catching health problems early increases the probability of successful treatment and also reduces the cost of treatment.

Mental Wellbeing

The millennial generation is unique in many characteristics, including the manner in which they handle stress. Many suffer from stress-related ailments – depression, substance abuse and anxiety. Recent research has implicated contributing factors: academic pressure, financial burden, increased accessibility of higher education, increased female to male student ratio, increased use of technology, and dramatic change in the lifestyle of university and college students. All of these factors play an important role in the mental health crisis.

Students face not only the time-honored ritual of leaving family and longtime friends, but a host of other pressures. New relationships can send students on an emotional roller coaster, while parents in the throes of divorce may add to the anxiety. The pressure to succeed academically has never been higher, and at the first sign of falling grades, even students who excelled in high school may wonder if they are really college material.

Medical Debt

Without health insurance coverage, a serious accident or a health issue that results in emergency care and/or an expensive treatment plan can result in poor credit or even bankruptcy. Dylan Roby, assistant professor of Health Services Administration at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, relates, “A cancer diagnosis, car accident, or even a broken leg can cost thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.”

Roby adds, “Insurance coverage now has out of pocket maximums that protect you from more than $6,600 (individual) or $13,200 (family) in spending.” But there are no limits for the uninsured.

And as a result, for several years, medical debt has been the number one cause of personal bankruptcy, according to De La Torre. Even when medical debt doesn’t end in bankruptcy, it takes a toll on consumers. Among third-party debt collection activities, Ernst & Young reports that medical debt accounts for 38%, which is 13% more than student loan debt, and more than twice the percentage of credit card debt. Also, consumers with massive medical debt are less likely to be able to save money and more susceptible to the type of financial strain that leads to foregoing necessities and borrowing money, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Depending on the income level, Roby says some Millennials could pay thousands of dollars for being uninsured.

Now what?

Healthcare is expensive—even with insurance. However, those who don’t have insurance coverage will be at a much greater disadvantage. The inability to seek treatment for health or mental conditions, the crushing weight of medical bills, and the substantial tax penalty for being uninsured are good reasons to obtain coverage.

Feeling good and looking good go hand in hand. Healthcare coverage enables you to take care of your mind and body. And Candor makes it super simple to get health insurance.

Introduce your Millennial to Candor. Candor is the health companion that enables Americans access to the solutions they need to achieve a state of sustainable independence, success and wellbeing. Download the app from Candor.Insurance today and go through it with your Millennial. The app offers choices to evaluate plan options side-by-side to guide your Millennial in the search for healthcare coverage that matches their needs. It’s compatible with every major health insurance carrier, and is as easy as booking a flight.

Don’t take risks – help your Millennial make the right healthcare coverage choices today.