Roughly 3 out of 10 younger Americans say their health insurance coverage has been affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey from TransUnion.
About 33% of Gen Z (defined here as those born during 1995 or after) and 29% of millennials (those born between 1980-1994) had their health insurance impacted by the pandemic, including losing coverage, according to a survey TransUnion Healthcare conducted last month of more than 3,000 people who visited a hospital, health-care clinic, doctor’s office or health-care organization in the last year.
Only about 12% of baby boomers experienced an impact because of Covid-19.
Beyond losing health-care coverage, about half of Americans say the current state of the economy has affected how they seek medical care, TransUnion’s survey finds. Within that, a higher percentage of Gen Zers and millennials reported a difference.
Yet overall out-of-pocket cost trends have not changed dramatically, TransUnion finds. The average consumer spent about $485 on emergency room visits and $5,002 on inpatient care this year, which is a decrease of 7% and 5%, respectively, from last year.
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That may be due to fewer Americans seeking care. About 44% of employed Americans have put off medical care during the pandemic, according to a Willis Towers Watson survey released Wednesday. Of those that deferred care, 61% said it was because of Covid-19 fears and 42% cited cost concerns.
Additionally, 47% of Americans have used virtual care services in place of in-person appointments this year — almost three times more than last year (17%), Wills Towers Watson finds.
An average telehealth visit costs about $79, compared with about $146 for an office visit, according to a research paper published in May. But while telehealth could increase access and potentially replace an expensive urgent care visit with a virtual assessment, these appointments typically led to additional medical use, the researchers found. Only about 12% of telemedicine visits completely replaced an in-person provider visit, which could increase out-of-pocket costs overall.
However, many times, telemedicine visits may be provided for free by your employer or your insurer, making it a “smart thing” to look into using before heading into the doctor’s office, says Tracy Watts, a senior consultant with Mercer.
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