Three Ways Healthcare Insurers Can Engage Younger and Diverse Populations

By Meghan Marx and Jenna Phillips, healthcare experts, PA Consulting.

Meghan Marx

Now that the 2019 health insurance Open Enrollment period has concluded, healthcare industry stakeholders are watching closely for any shifts in consumer behavior regarding enrollment and the overall uninsured rate. After a record drop in the uninsured rate from 2008 to 2016 in response to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the uninsured rate has begun to increase again, by 1.3 percentage points from 2016 to 2017, according to data from Gallup and Sharecare reported on the Health Affairs blog. Additionally, at the December 15 close of the 2019 open enrollment period, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that 300,000 fewer individuals enrolled for 2019 than for the previous year. Under the policies of the current administration, the trend of decreased enrollment in exchange market plans, coupled with an increase in the U.S. uninsured rate, is expected to continue.

Jenna Phillips

The uninsured rate has fluctuated over time, but factors like the Congressional repeal of the individual health insurance mandate and reduced funding for health insurance enrollment counselors to support consumers to enroll in health insurance mean that the uninsured rate is expected to climb further in 2019. The increases in the rate of uninsured may seem small, but a 1.3 percent increase in the number of uninsured Americans represents 3.2 million more adults who were uninsured in 2017, compared to 2016. While the upward trend in the uninsured rate is consistent across population segments, a few specific demographics are at especially high risk of becoming uninsured, including young adults, low-middle income earners, and Hispanics.

Here’s what we know:

So, how can health plans engage young, diverse, lower-middle class populations that show greater likelihood of becoming uninsured?

In total, 8.8 percent of the U.S. population and 12.2 percent of the US adult population is uninsured, presenting significant opportunities for health insurance providers to capitalize on a sizable untapped market. Notably, a high proportion of the uninsured demographic are young, healthy individuals of working age. There is also significant overlap among the demographic groups previously identified, young adults, low-middle income earners, and Hispanic Americans.

According to the Brookings Institution, millennials are the most diverse generation in U.S. history, with 44 percent of individuals identifying as non-white. This demographic shift in the United States population will likely continue to intensify over time. Young and non-white Americans also tend to fall into lower economic tiers than older, white Americans. Payers that successfully reach this overlapping population will benefit from new sources of income with potentially low medical costs for patient care in a low utilizing population.

We suggest a few strategic and tactical approaches that health plans can take to engage and enroll uninsured Americans as plans reflect on 2019 open enrollment and prepare for the future.

Many opportunities exist for insurance providers to pursue and entice the American population segments least likely to purchase insurance coverage. The health insurers that succeed can anticipate significant gains in the form of membership growth, improved community relations, and financial returns.

One comment on “Three Ways Healthcare Insurers Can Engage Younger and Diverse Populations”

Hello Scott Rupp,

Very well arranged and covered whole topic on “Ways of insurers can engage younger and diverse populations”.

you explained very well in this article but as a reader point of view I would like to suggest one thing is that you should also use graphical resources to make your post much attractive as well as make it too easy in understanding for any users.

Looking for your updates.

Jessy Browne,

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