Millennial health plan participation drops

A police officer holds the door as people line up outside the Joe Celestin Center in North Miami, Fla., during National Youth Enrollment Day. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) A police officer holds the door as people line up outside the Joe Celestin Center in North Miami, Fla., during National Youth Enrollment Day. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Participation in employer-sponsored insurance plans by workers ages 30 and under trailed the rate of their elders by as much as 20 percent in a comparison of participation by age group released by Automatic Data Processing Inc.

According to the study, which has followed insurance trends at 200 major companies for four years, 85 percent of workers 30 and younger were eligible for coverage. Yet for this year, just 53 percent opted for coverage.

The highest participation rate among those surveyed was to be found in the 50-59-year-old category, where 73 percent of those eligible chose to be covered. Other age groups were within spitting distance of that number — except for the millennials. In fact, that number is dropping over time.

“In this age group, the take rate declined 7.6 percent between 2010 and 2014,” ADP reported.

In other findings from the study: 

  • Between 2010 and 2014, the percentage of full-time employees who were eligible for employer-provided health benefits remained relatively steady at an average of 90 percent.
  • The overall percentage of those participating in health benefits also remained relatively constant at an average of 68 percent. 
  • Health plan premiums (defined as employee plus employer contributions) rose for employees of all ages over the period, but the steepest increase was for those age 50 to 59, who saw premiums rise by 16.4 percent 2014.
  • In 2014, the average monthly health plan premium was $870, an increase of 15 percent since 2010. However, after a spike of 6.9 percent between 2010 and 2011, the rate of increase moderated. Premiums rose 1.7 percent between 2013 and 2014.
  • In 2014, employers contributed 74 percent of the premium cost for those with dependents, whereas those with no dependents saw a 77-percent employer contribution share. Employer contributions to health premiums declined slightly for all groups.
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