Health insurance for millennials, Gen Z, most likely to be affected by pandemic

33% of Gen Z, 29% of millennials said their health care was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic

There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has been hard on everyone, but one study has found that younger Americans are more likely than older generations to lose their health coverage.

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TransUnion Healthcare published the results of its 2020 Patient Financial Experience Survey last week, which found that overall, 22% of the 3,000 respondents said their health insurance was affected by the pandemic.

However, younger generations had higher percentages of respondents who were affected. According to the report, 33% of Gen Z respondents and 29% of millennial respondents said their health coverage was impacted by the pandemic.

Meanwhile, only 18% of Gen X and only 12% of baby boomers’ health coverage was affected.

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“Our survey found, due to the pandemic, larger percentages of younger generations deferred non-essential care and had their insurance coverage impacted,” Jonathan Wiik, TransUnion Healthcare’s principal of health care strategy said in a statement. “At the same time, the industry has reported only modest shifts in payer mix despite the economic and financial impacting these individuals, going against expectations and signifying a gap in coverage.

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“These findings indicate that while a greater percentage of these patients lost health insurance coverage due to the pandemic, the moderate change in payer mix could be because they avoided non-essential care and likely did not seek alternative coverage,” Wiik added.

In fact, the TransUnion survey found that in the last six months, 59% of all respondents postponed medical care that wasn’t related to the coronavirus.

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The survey also found that people are focusing more on understanding their medical costs before getting care -- which TransUnion Healthcare deemed was “driven by the material, financial impacts of the pandemic and insurance plan disruptions.”

According to the survey, 80% of respondents used their provider or insurance websites to research the costs of their health care, which is a five percent increase from last year.

Of the respondents, 47% said they chose their provider based on cost.

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“Health care consumerism is growing, perhaps in part due to the economic and financial challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” David Wojczynski, TransUnion Healthcare’s president said in a statement.

“Our latest survey illustrates to providers just how important it is to offer flexible care delivery options and payment experiences for their patients during this period of uncertainty, as well as understand and address individual payment needs,” Wojczynski added.

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