HHS: Younger Americans need to register for health insurance coverage

Jan 15, 2014 | Healthcare Industry News

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department are celebrating nearly 2.2 million Americans who purchased insurance through Healthcare.gov, but the health care industry needs more 18-34 year olds to do so. Many young adults may be covered by their parent's insurance plan, but this provision may end for some Americans in 2014.

"If you have health coverage from a plan that existed on March 23, 2010 — and that has covered at least one person continuously from that day forward — your plan may be considered a "grandfathered" plan," HHS' website stated.

Despite this change, and the pending penalties for not having health coverage, only 24 percent of December enrollees fell under the 18-34 demographic. If this trend continues, health insurance companies are concerned they will have to raise rates for enrolled members, which may impact how soon patients can pay a hospital for a procedure.

Registration in December may have spiked in comparison to October and November, but there is a lot of work to be done — the Obama administration hopes to have 2.7 young Americans with coverage by the end of 2014. If participation increases accordingly, the price for health care will decrease for those who depend on it the most: senior citizens.

"The more that the marketplace is able to attract a broad mix of enrollees including the young and healthy, the more that costs will be sustainable and premiums will be more affordable," Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America's Health Insurance plans, told Reuters.

The price to pay for health care services for a 64-year old patient is almost five times more expensive than a 21-year-old patient, the news source explained.

If this trend continues to stay under the Affordable Care Act's goals, it may cause a domino effect of problems. Health insurance providers will increase premiums, which will trickle down to patients, who will struggle to pay for co-pays and prescriptions, increasing the burden for medical accounts receivable. Hospitals and practices can take control of backlogged bills with the help of Professional Medical Services.