Health Reform Monitoring Survey – Texas, Issue Brief #23: The Experience of Texas Young Invincibles 2013-2016
A central goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to provide access to affordable health insurance coverage for millions of Americans. The inclusion in the insurance markets of young adults, who are generally healthier than older adults, helps the system as a whole by offsetting the costs of health services used by the older and less healthy populations. In this brief, we examine the health insurance experiences of Texans ages 18 to 34, the so-called “Young Invincibles,” between 2013 and 2016. The Young Invincibles term was coined by the health insurance industry to describe young people who were expected to forego health insurance based on the belief they were too healthy to warrant the cost. Prior to the implementation of the ACA, the Young Invincibles were less likely to be insured than their older counterparts. Our data show that the uptake of health insurance by Young Invincibles has increased significantly from 2013 to 2016. The uninsured rate for this group has fallen by more than one-third, from 32.7% to 21.3%. The increase is significantly attributable to the Young Invincibles' coverage through employer-sponsored insurance plans (21% increase). The largest sub-groups of Young Invincibles who remain uninsured are Hispanic and low income.