Health Reform Monitoring Survey – Texas, Issue Brief #2: The Affordable Care Act and Texas’ “Young Invincibles”
Marks, Elena M.
Bray, Patricia Gail
One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to increase the number of young adults with health insurance coverage by offering comprehensive plans at affordable prices through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Participation in the Marketplace by young adults is important because it facilitates access to health care and protects against high, unexpected medical bills. The inclusion of younger, generally healthier people in the insurance risk pool helps the entire system by offsetting the costs of health services used by older and less healthy people. As the first enrollment period of the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplace comes to a close, special attention is focused on extending health insurance coverage to people ages 18-34. This group is often referred to as the “Young Invincibles,” a term coined by the health insurance industry to describe young adults who forego health insurance believing that they are too healthy to justify the cost of coverage. This issue brief highlights HRMS-Texas’ findings about the Young Invincibles’ knowledge and perceptions of the ACA immediately prior to the opening of the Marketplace. We also report data regarding insurance status and affordability and accessibility of health services for young adults. The substantial number of uninsured Young Invincibles in Texas—2.3 million people—provides challenges and opportunities for the ACA.