In late September, advocates, non-profits, providers, corporations, policy experts, and young adults passionate about public health gathered for the first-ever “Coverage to Care” Summit on Millennial Health in Washington, D.C. Hosted by the National Coalition on Millennial Health, and coordinated by YI Advisors (YIA), the social impact consulting arm of Young Invincibles, the event served as a venue to share best practices and strategies to reach uninsured young adults, and help connect young adults to quality care. New data released in September by the Census revealed that 5.2 million young adults gained health coverage since the first ACA marketplace open enrollment period in 2013. While momentum grows with each open enrollment period, more needs to be done to reach the remaining uninsured and ensure that young people receive the care they need.
As consumers continue to navigate our ever-changing health care system, it is more important than ever to leverage convenings like the Coverage to Care Summit to share best practices and find new ways to adapt to the new health care landscape. This year’s Summit was the first of many opportunities for the Coalition and attendees to learn how to use data analysis on trends in Millennial health to improve service delivery and meet consumer demand; discuss how to leverage new technology and tools to better reach technology-dependent young adults; highlight mental health as the new frontier of young adult coverage advocacy; and strategize to better transition young adults from adolescence to adulthood.
Coverage to Care Summit panels focused on some of the most pressing issues facing young adults' health care. The Mental Health panel discussed mental and behavioral health issues that particularly impact young adults and how to increase access and usage of culturally competent services. Our panel on Transitioning from Adolescence to Adult Health Care focused on barriers to accessing preventive care and leaving the pediatrician's office for adult primary care. Innovation and Technology panelists examined technological solutions, from apps to telehealth, that the Millennial generation may be more likely to embrace, and new tools that will help transform the delivery of quality health care in the future. Sustaining our new health care system is dependent on not only enroll young people in coverage, but also understanding how they are using their care. The Coverage to Care Panel discussed common barriers young adults face when accessing preventive care after becoming enrolled, and strategies to ensure young adults can effectively utilize their coverage and stay enrolled. Our Research & Data Panel highlighted new research concerning young adults' utilization of preventive care, how Millennials are currently using their care, and a new tool developed by ACA Spotlight which will simplify how assisters and Navigators explain complex health insurance concepts like cost-sharing reductions.
In conjunction with the event, YI Advisors released new research briefs analyzing data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), which highlight Millennial consumer behavior and offer insights into their perception of the health care system. The findings indicate that there has been an increase in healthy behavior in Millennials, with less than a quarter of young adults saying they take more risks than the average person -- a four-point drop among 18-24 year-olds and three points down for the 25-34 year-old cohort. The survey also shows that young adults seek health services for different conditions than other age groups, that they trust the health care system more and use mental health care services most. Specifically, while there were modest gains in their usage of preventive health care services, 7.6 million young adults received care for mental health conditions -- more than any other service offered.
Additionally, the day included the release of the #HealthyAdulting toolkit, a new health insurance literacy campaign run by Young Invincibles designed to inform and empower young adults to use their care before, during and after they enroll in coverage. The consumer-focused effort is comprised of trainings, an interactive cost-comparison tool from Social Interest Solutions, and videos providing information on preventive care and services like dental and mental health that Millennials use most but have the least information about.
The Coalition plans to meet throughout the year to ensure continued coordination and data-driven strategies to better serve connect young adults to health care.