Millennials under insured compared to other age groups

Originally posted August 27, 2014 by Chris McMahon on http://ebn.benefitnews.com.
Nearly a quarter of millennials, Americans between the ages of 18 and 29, lack health insurance according to a report from insuranceQuotes.com; and 16 percent of all adults do not have health insurance despite the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that all Americans have health insurance.

“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.”

 

Millennials also are less likely than other age groups to own health, auto, life, homeowner’s, renter’s and disability insurance, according to the report. Some of the disparity can be attributed to living with their parents or having fewer assets to protect, insuranceQuotes.com said, but millennials appear to be under insured across all insurance lines.

 

“Fewer Gen Yers are buying houses and more are living at home with their parents,” said Kile Lewis, co-CEO and co-founder of oXYGen Financial, a financial planning firm serving generations X and Y. “But only 12 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds have renters insurance despite the fact that almost four out of five adults under 25 live on their own, and two-thirds of adults ages 25 to 29, rent their homes, according to a report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.”

Highlights from the report:

  • 95 percent of millennials said their overall financial security is very or somewhat important, almost the same number as consumers aged 30 to 64.
  • 12 percent of millennials have renter’s insurance.
  • 64 percent of millennials lack life insurance. The most common objection is that it costs too much.
  • 36 percent of millennials do not have auto insurance, which could be attributed to declining numbers of young adult drivers.
  • 10 percent of millennials have homeowners insurance, compared to half of consumers ages 30 to 49, and 75 percent of those 65 and older.
  • 13 percent of millennials have disability insurance, compared with 37 percent of those 30 to 49.

“Despite all of this evidence that millennials do not have a lot of insurance, most millennials are confident they are prepared for the financial consequences of car accidents, having their belongings stolen, incurring substantial medical bills or becoming disabled,” InsuranceQuotes said. “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.”

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, and findings are based on responses from 1,003 adults in the continental United States. Statistical results were weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies; the margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points,

 


Thousands still lack PPACA coverage

Originally posted July 8, 2014 by Kathryn Mayer on www.benefitspro.com.

Just because consumers are paying for health care coverage though the exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act doesn’t mean they’re actually getting coverage.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, thousands of enrollees still lack coverage despite picking a plan and paying for coverage due to problems in the law's enrollment systems. The problems are prevalent in California, Nevada and Massachusetts, states running their own exchanges. The enrollment glitches are causing thousands to delay care and pay more out-of-pocket expenses.

The newspaper’s report follows findings from the Health and Human Services inspector general last week that detailed widespread data errors still plaguing the law. That report found the administration was unable to resolve 2.6 million inconsistencies in the federal exchange out of a reported 2.9 million because the CMS system for determining eligibility was “not fully operational.”

And of the roughly 330,000 cases that could be straightened out, the administration only resolved about 10,000, which is less than 1 percent of the total.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that many enrollees who requested life event changes in coverage — such as marriage or a new child — haven’t gone into effect yet, even months are the request. For example, Minnesota has a 6,500 backlog for coverage change requests because of life events, the report found.

The Journal doesn’t pinpoint exact numbers, but it’s likely a fraction of the 8 million people who enrolled in coverage through the exchanges.

According to a report from the Commonwealth Fund, 20 million people have been covered because of the law — an additional 12 million people who gained coverage through other provisions of the law along with the 8 million who enrolled in coverage through the exchanges since the spring.


4 calls for medical help from employees

Originally posted on http://ebn.benefitnews.com

The Grand Rounds’ recent Employee Benefit Expectation survey, the results of which were announced Wednesday, emphasizes the high value employees place on medical plans that can extended to newer shapes of families – same-sex couples, aging parents and medical dependents much older than 21. "The modern employee," the survey reads, "is looking for employers that recognize the changing state of familial responsibilities."

Access to medical opinions and expert advice is very important to today’s employees – rated more desirable than free annual flu shots. Here are four things workers crave out of medical coverage and information, and how employers can benefit from meeting those needs.

Don’t know where to start

More than one in four (28%) employees tell Grand Rounds they wouldn't know how to find a qualified medical specialist for a serious illness affecting them or a loved one, and 35% say they would pay $5,000 or more for the world’s leading specialist to review their own or a loved one’s case. “Today’s employee is hungry for better access,” Grand Rounds says.

A nickel’s worth of free advice

Some 60% of respondents would be more likely to stay with their employer if free access to expert medical opinions was offered, versus only traditional health insurance. Additionally, when choosing between multiple employment offers, 68% say they would be more likely to select a position that includes free access to expert medical opinions that extends to their family.

"There is a real talent war going on in this country, especially here in Silicon Valley,” says Rick Foreman, CFO and VP of business operations for Wealthfront, a Grand Rounds client. “This means that recruiting and retaining top-notch talent no longer means providing weekly happy hours or a Ping-Pong table. It’s about adding real value to our employees' lives."

Extend to the aging

As part of the so-called Sandwich Generation, 47% of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent aged 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child, according to the Pew Research Center. Increasingly, employees want help with their older family members: 60% of employees with living parents tell Grand Rounds that it's important health care benefits extend to them. “As employees widen their definition of family, they expect employers to do the same,” Ground Rounds says.

Have illness, will travel

A whopping 89% of those surveyed say they would travel to receive a second opinion from a medical expert on a disease or condition. More than a third (35%) would go anywhere in the United States, and 22% say they would travel anywhere in the world – such is the extent of their desire for the best possible medical help.

 


Health Care Law Remains Deeply Divisive

Original article from http://triblive.com

By Dayton Daily News

David Peabody is apprehensive about the new health care law. Ericka Haverkos is hopeful about it.

These Ohio residents — one the owner of a small landscaping business in Columbus and the other a college student who works part time as a cashier — are emblematic of millions of Americans who next year will have to adapt to the most sweeping changes in the delivery of health care since the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

To Peabody, the law will impose steep costs on his company and force him to decide whether to insure his 65 workers or pay a fine to the federal government. To Haverkos, who says she has a learning disability, it could mean access to a doctor who could prescribe the medication she needs.

All across the nation, millions of people are facing the reality of a new era in health care. Signed into law in 2010 by President Obama and known as the Affordable Care Act, the law will extend health care coverage to more than 20 million of the 47 million Americans without insurance.

“For people who haven't been able to find affordable insurance, they are going to love it,” said Elise Gould, a health insurance analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning nonprofit organization in Washington.

The law's critics contend it's going to frustrate Americans with its complexities, new regulations and blizzard of fees and taxes that they claim will deal a major blow to a fragile economy still recovering from the 2008 financial crash.

When asked to describe how efficiently the law is being implemented, Thomas Miller, a health policy analyst at the conservative oriented American Enterprise Institute in Washington joked: “Coming along just fine. Steady as she goes right into the cliff. Don't mind that iceberg. The Titanic got past it.”

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey in April found that 49 percent of Americans lack the information to understand how the law works. More alarming to the Obama administration, a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed that 49 percent of Americans believe the law is a bad idea while just 37 percent call it a good one.

The law extends coverage in two ways. It expands the eligibility for Medicaid, which provides health coverage to low-income people. For those making too much money to qualify for Medicaid, the law offers federal subsidies for families of four earning $33,000 to $94,000 a year so that they can buy their plans through exchanges operated by the federal government or their state.

“I do believe folks underestimated the enormity of this law,” said Kevin Kuhlman, a Washington lobbyist for the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “In order for it to be a success, not only does the government have a massive project ahead of it managing and operating these exchanges, but private businesses also will have to come along and make a lot of drastic changes.”

Haverkos, a student at the Columbus College of Art and Design, said she lost her health insurance more than two years ago when her mother's term on the state Board of Education ended. The health law lets adult children remain on their parents' health plan until age 26, but Haverkos said that's not an option for her.

She said her employer doesn't offer insurance to part-time employees like her. She said she has emergency coverage through the college. Under the law, her insurance through the college will be upgraded if she remains enrolled there.

Supporters of the health care law say people like Haverkos can get access to coverage because government subsidies make the coverage more affordable. Comprehensive coverage would help relieve the symptoms of her persistent allergies and, she said, give her security - a sense of comfort knowing that it's there.”

For some people, the subsidies would amount to considerable savings. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a single 45-year-old earning $28,735 a year would pay $5,733 a year in premiums under a typical plan. Using the ACA's graduated scale, which calls for more subsidies for lower-income people, that person would have $3,420 of the premium paid for by the government.

“Those people who have found it very difficult to have access to coverage will find it a good deal,” said Kenneth Thorpe, a one-time senior health official under former President Bill Clinton.

Others are scrambling to determine what the law will cost them.

Many small companies that have not been offering insurance will have to under the new law. That will force some into a choice between providing insurance for their workers or paying thousands of dollars in federal taxes.

The ACA will require a company with 50 or more full-time workers to provide insurance or pay a $2,000 per-person fine for every uninsured worker. The only exception is the first 30 workers in the company are excluded from the fine.

Peabody, who years ago took pride in covering the entire cost of his employees' health coverage, said he now has to calculate what he can afford.

Last year, his company paid $48,000 of the $119,000 in premiums charged by his insurer, with the workers picking up the rest.

Not all of his workers accept the company-provided insurance, Peabody said.

“A lot of people can't afford health insurance,” he said. “That's why they choose not to take it.”

Other businesses are facing similar choices. Jamie Richardson, vice president of White Castle, which has 406 hamburger shops across the country, said his company spent $36 million last year on health coverage for its 5,000 full-time workers. All told, the chain employs about 10,000 people.

Under the new law, White Castle must offer its full-time workers (or anyone working 30 hours or more a week) insurance within 90 days of their hire date. That's a change from current White Castle policy, which offers health insurance to workers six months after they are hired. The company could reduce the number of hours for some workers — as a few companies have said they would do — but the chain said it does not want to do that.

“If someone's full time, we want them to stay full time,” Richardson said. “We don't want people to lose benefits.” He did say the additional costs could mean fewer people are hired.

Opponents argue that adding 20 million into the health care system along with requirements for minimum federal coverage is likely to cause premiums to rise for everyone insured in the United States. By contrast, supporters say the new law will restrain the growth rate of health care because insured people will not be flooding emergency rooms for care.

Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform for the Kaiser Family Foundation, said the true costs of the new law will be difficult to calculate.

“For most people with employer-sponsored coverage, the cost of that coverage has been increasing over the past decade,” she said. Determining how much of those costs are due to general trends as opposed to the new law will be “hard to disentangle.”