Millennial’s Guide to Buying Health Insurance

Individual and Family

Millennial’s Guide to Buying Health Insurance

Published on July 09, 2018


In the beginning on 2018 NPR interviewed Michael Hobbes, a writer (and a millennial). He had a lot to say in defense of millennials, and provided data to prove it.
Along with claiming there is no proof that millennials are any more entitled and spoiled than the generations of young people before them, he also claimed that millennials have it harder in many ways. When it comes to affordability, the following are five times more expensive than they were for millennials’ parents:

  • Housing
  • Education
  • Healthcare

Health insurance for young adults (first of all, let’s understand how it works)

According to this literacy survey, only 36% of millennials could correctly identify any of the four basic health insurance terms (deductible, coinsurance, co-payments, out-of-pocket-maximum).  To be fair, only 4% of Americans overall could define all four of the terms.
For a quick fix, you can study up on common health insurance terms, but there’s a lot more to this issue than just understanding the basics of health insurance.
For millennials, health insurance is probably an entirely new concept. So at eHealth, we don’t want to dwell on the statistics, but rather help educate millennials about health insurance.

Why is it so important for millennials to have health insurance?

Before beginning to understand the inner-workings of health insurance, it’s probably more important to understand why it’s so important to have in the first place.
As a young (and perhaps healthy) person, you might think that you’re safe to go without health insurance for awhile. Surprisingly though, millennials collectively have more medical debt than elderly baby boomers. According to a National Financial Capability study, 25% of people between 18 and 50 have past-due medical bills. Now these statistics could likely reflect a lack of health insurance for young adults, or lack of money to pay bills even with coverage. Nonetheless, they prove that millennials do have medical bills due to needing healthcare at some point.
Health insurance for young adults is important, because one major aspect of it is to protect enrollees from financial ruin in the case of a medical emergency (which is more common than you may think).
Anirudh Krishna, a Duke professor conducted an interview of over 1000 people about how they fell into poverty. According to him, “poverty is more like a lake, with streams flowing steadily in and out all the time”, meaning that people are constantly falling below the poverty line.
And according to Krishna, the most common trigger for spiraling into poverty is an injury or illness.

Millennial health insurance (is it different than other health insurance?)

Yes, and no. For now, millennials are the youngest people buying their own health insurance—which for many, might mean they don’t need as many health benefits to come with their health insurance plans as elderly or sickly people do.
While the mandated ten essential benefits of Obamacare works in certain people’s favor, those who need less care and can’t afford expensive premiums might benefit more from plans that offer less benefits but also cost less.

Luckily for those who don’t want all the benefits of qualified Obamacare health insurance plans, the individual mandate no longer applies to plans bought for the 2019 coverage year (open enrollment for 2019 health insurance will be November 1 through December 15, 2018). So if you want to buy a plan that is not Obamacare-compliant, but is more affordable, then you won’t face any fines.

Know about your alternative options if you can’t afford Obamacare

Although there’s no special “millennial health insurance”, there are plans that are designed for young people, those who only need temporary coverage, and people who don’t want or need all the ten essential health benefits. You can visit to see the variety of products offered. Some of these include:

  • Short term health insurance
  • Medical insurance packages
  • GAP insurance
  • Accident insurance
  • Critical Illness insurance

Probably the closest thing you could get to health insurance specifically designed for young people is a catastrophic plan. This insurance is available to those who:

Learn more about finding health insurance for young adults

If you’re a millennial and adding a monthly bill for health insurance seems like a lot, we are here to help you do it the smart way. Although health insurance premiums are an additional monthly cost, you can lower the cost by qualifying for subsidies and shopping smart, and in the end, your coverage will protect you against financial ruin in case you have a serious illness or injury.

We’ll let you know when we publish anything new.