Colleges and Universities and Insurance and Education & Workforce Development and Uninsured and Health Care & Insurance

Insurers not attracting young people

May 25, 2009

Two-thirds of college-age Americans say health insurance is as important as salary when looking at jobs. Yet just as many have made no plans to obtain health insurance once they graduate from school this month.

That's a problem for companies like Indianapolis-based Golden Rule Insurance Co., which commissioned the survey that produced those conclusions. It's also a problem for health insurers in general, which need healthy young people to join their risk pools to help cover the costs of sicker members.

The survey polled 1,000 Americans ages 18 to 21 using an online questionnaire. It was conducted in April by The Polling Co. Inc., based in Washington, D.C.

The biggest obstacle to getting health insurance is not young people's invincible mindset, but their ignorance, according to the survey. Only 18 percent of those who opted to take the survey said they did not need coverage because they are in good health.

But 69 percent said they are fuzzy on the details of their parents' plan. One in four said they don't even know when their coverage will end under their parents' plan.

Those findings differ from the conclusions drawn by Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc. two years ago when it launched an individual health insurance product, called Tonik, aimed at what it called "young invincibles."

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