Youngest Consumers Hit Hardest by Healthcare Costs

Health insurance premiums are down, but out-of-pocket costs are on the rise
A stressed out millennial

Healthcare expenses affect consumers of all ages, but a new survey suggests those under 35 are feeling particularly weighed down by rising expenses — a fact that’s exacerbated by rising out-of-pocket costs.

Lively, the developers of a health savings account platform, surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults to gain some insight into how healthcare costs impacted their overall financial health. They learned that more than half of adults — 52% — have had to delay or eliminate certain activities such as saving for retirement, going on vacation or paying down debt because of healthcare costs.

Those under 35 were more likely to have to make financial sacrifices than their older counterparts. In fact, among that age group, 42% have had to cut spending on hobbies, 31% have had to put off vacation plans and 29% are putting off saving as much for retirement as they would like.

Healthcare costs could even be impacting the physical health of many young adults as 59% of Gen Zers — those defined in the study as being between the ages of 18 and 24 — have put off going to the doctor because of cost and 63% said they did not take a doctor’s recommendation because of cost.

The financial pain consumers are experiencing when it comes to paying for healthcare isn’t likely to go away anytime soon, a new analysis suggests.

Online health insurance exchange eHealth looked at insurance plans available through the Affordable Care Act and found that 2020 premiums are down from last year, yet out-of-pocket costs are rising.

For example, the analysis found that average Bronze plan premiums — a category of health insurance plans in which premiums are among the lowest — are down 3% (from $407 to $393 per month) for a 40-year-old individual and 4% (from $1,299 to $1,253) for a family of four.

While that might seem like good news, many families will unlikely feel the effects of the decrease. Deductibles — the amount consumers pay before their health insurance kicks in — and maximum out-of-pocket limits are up for 2020 compared to what consumers paid in 2019.

For example, average Bronze plan deductibles will increase 4% (from $6,181 to $6,419) for a 40-year-old individual while the average maximum out-of-pocket limit will increase 4% (from $7,458 to $7,731). For a family of four with a Bronze plan, deductibles will increase on average 3% (from $13,017 to $13,394), and the average maximum out-of-pocket limit is expected to increase 4% (from $14,916 to $15,462).

Most Americans believe the country is undergoing a crisis in healthcare affordability and a recent ValuePenguin study found that nearly half believe the government is most responsible. Regardless of who you blame, it’s important to consider your current and future healthcare needs and put a plan together to meet those needs as best you can. One way to do that is to compare quotes for health insurance plans to determine which one will offer you and your family the best deal.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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