Why Twentysomethings May Reject the ACA

SAN DIEGO (MainStreet)—Not many twentysomethings spend a great deal of time thinking about health insurance.

In fact, many are woefully uninformed – lacking even a basic understanding of how health insurance works or of health insurance terminology such as "deductible," "premium" or "co-pay."

But come January 2014, that will have to change.

That's when the bulk of the federal Affordable Care Act takes effect, under which young adults face new requirements for having health insurance – including being slapped with penalties for not having it.

"Right now this generation has very low levels of insurance literacy, precisely because there were so few good options before," explains Tamika Butler, California director of Washington, D.C.-based Young Invincibles, an organization that seeks to expand opportunity for Americans between the ages of 18 and 34.

According to Young Invincibles, young adults remain the most uninsured age group in the country. Here's a snapshot of the statistics:

  • 29% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 26% of 25- to 34-year-olds are uninsured.
  • By gender, 29% of men and 26% of women in these age groups lack insurance.
  • In California, the numbers are far higher than the national average – with 31% in this age group lacking health insurance. In Los Angeles County, the figure jumps to 39%.

Statistics like these have organizations like Young Invincibles, as well as the insurance industry, and federal and state officials, all focused on young men and women this year in an attempt to get them signed up for health insurance.

Young Invincibles recently launched a nationwide campaign called Healthy Young America, under which its been holding grass roots events across the country to educate twentysomethings about the Affordable Care Act and the various low cost insurance options that will be available come January.