It was one of the most exciting moments of the year for the industry.
Insurers are trying to find a way to compete in a crowded market for a wide range of services, and with the rise of a new generation of younger consumers, many companies are pushing back.
Insurers are seeking to offer lower premiums, lower deductibles and higher benefits to younger consumers to try to entice them to get them coverage.
But as the industry matures and the younger consumers get more and more active, they may find they have to pay more out of pocket, which could put them at higher risk of having a higher deductible.
A study released Monday by the American Hospital Association and the Institute of Medicine said that millennials are less likely to pay for essential health services, such as prescription drugs, than older Americans.
The study said that while they pay about 20 percent more out-of-pocket for basic health care than older adults, they are less apt to use preventive services and that they also are more likely to use a doctor who is not a specialist.
“I think the reason is that millennials do not have a lot of money to spend on things that they want, and that is really the big reason for them not using health insurance,” said Sarah Gertz, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-author of the study.
“They don’t have the disposable income that older Americans have, so they are more focused on the quality of care, and they want to make sure that it is right for them, and not something that is out of reach,” GertZ said.
But the trend toward lower premium and lower deductible benefits has not always been this dramatic.
Older Americans were paying far more out than younger ones, but not as much as younger consumers are.
The median premium for a one-year policy with a deductible of $1,000 was $1.3, up from $1 in 2010, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
For older adults the premium hikes were modest.
A one-month policy with an $8,000 deductible was $2,945 in 2020, according the Kaiser report.
The lowest deductible among younger consumers was $6,746 in 2020.
But with the number of younger individuals signing up for coverage skyrocketing, insurance companies are finding they are faced with the challenge of keeping up with the demand.
Insurance companies have raised premiums on some policies to try and keep up with new costs and also to keep up enrollment.
For instance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas raised its monthly premium by 10 percent for plans with an average deductible of more than $4,000 for one year to $5,000.
Blue Cross BlueShield of Texas is facing criticism from some insurance executives for hiking its premium for older people, as they are often older consumers with higher medical costs, who tend to pay a lot more out, according in the Kaiser study.
Insurer officials say that increases are justified by the rising costs of prescription drugs and a growing number of health conditions.
“We are not the ones who are increasing premiums,” said Kevin Lien, a vice president of marketing for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association of North America.
“It’s the older people who are having to pay.”
Lien said that the average deductible for the company’s older enrollees is $7,400, but the company plans to gradually increase that amount over time.
That would give them a lower deductible, but it also would allow the company to raise the maximum amount they can charge people for coverage to $13,500.
BlueCross BlueShield has not responded to a request for comment.