In 2014, more than 12 million Americans are expected to enter the insurance market to buy health insurance from state or federally operated health benefit exchanges. By 2021, the exchange market is expected to have doubled, which will mark the single largest expansion of health care benefits since the introduction of Medicare in the 1960s. Many think tankers have tried to picture what the newly insured population will look like. Recently, the number crunchers from PricewaterhouseCoopers have tried to shed a light on this subject by releasing their findings in their report. The graphic below illustrates some of the study’s findings with regard to race, education, self-reported health status and a variety of other factors.
Summary of the characteristics of the newly insured compared to those who are currently insured:
- The newly insured population will consist of a larger portion of ethnic minorities–roughly 25%. Today, 21% of those with health insurance identify as non-white.
- They will be a “sicker” population.
- The newly insured will consist of more singles (52%) than married couples.
- They will be a non-English speaking population.
- Their educational level will be lower.
- They will also be less likely to have a full-time employment.
- Their median age will be 33.
Whatever the make-up, physicians are certainly going to have a unique set of challenges to care for this new population. (Access PwC’s full report here)