With the healthcare coverage mandates of the Affordable Care Act driving enrollment, the number of uninsured workers is dwindling — but they’re still out there. Here’s what you need to know.
One of the primary aims of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was to bring health coverage to all Americans. While the legislation has had some success — the overall uninsured rate has fallen from 15.7% (before the bill was signed into law) to 9.2%, according to Obamacare Facts — there are still many people with full or part-time jobs who have fallen through the cracks. They are, collectively, the working uninsured.
So who are the people that make up this group? Is it that they’ve made a conscious decision to live without health insurance? Or are they simply in need of some expert guidance so they can find policies that provide adequate coverage that they can also afford?
Who They Are
Recent data suggests that about 85% of people without health insurance have at least one full or part-time worker in their household, as LifeHealthPro reports. However, only 11% of those households have a year-round, full-time worker present (with 19% fully employed for only part of the year). The remaining 35% of the working uninsured have part-time jobs either year-round or for part of the year. Still, that means the vast majority have some form of relatively stable income.
By and large, the working uninsured are a young group, with millennials (aged 19 to 34) accounting for 45%, followed by 35 to 54-year-olds (43%), and 55-64-year-olds (12%). Unsurprisingly, most are employed by small to mid-sized businesses — 55% work for companies with fewer than 50 employees.
What They Need
Once Medicaid eligibility is accounted for, 21% of the working uninsured are left over. While they might not be technically living below the FPL, money is still an issue: according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2014, 48% of uninsured adults said the main reason they had no coverage was because the cost was “too high.” Others, especially younger members of this group, might simply be unaware of the significant risks and penalties that go along with not being covered. For some, the process of signing up may be the problem — the ACA and state exchanges are notoriously confusing and riddled with bugs.
Selling to the working uninsured requires a cautious and informative approach. It’s likely that they’ll need guidance as to what level of coverage they actually need, as well as what kind of policies are available that fit within their budgetary constraints. As such, insurers must seek out ways to make it easier for the working uninsured to request quotes online and connect with agents directly. It’s a win-win for everyone involved: consumers get access to the healthcare coverage they so desperately need, and agents gain access to a previously untapped sales demographic.
(Main image credit: Tim Gouw/Unsplash)