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The Oldest Members of Generation Z Are Now About 20

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Analysts at the Transamerica Center for Health Studies are now including data for consumers in “Generation Z” in adult consumer survey results.

The Los Angeles-based center polled a total of 4,602 U.S. residents ages 18 to 64 through an online survey. Demographers are still in the process of deciding where the cut-off between Generation Z and the previous generation should be. Transamerica center analysts classified residents ages 21 to 36 as being in “Generation Y,” or the “millennial generation,” and residents ages 18 to 20 as being in Generation Z.

(Related: Meet Generation Z)

One good way to analyze Generation Z data would be to compare the numbers for members of Generation Z who are now 18 through 20 with data from a comparable survey of health care consumers, ages 18 to 20, conducted 20 years ago. That would help compensate for differences resulting from the fact that the oldest members of Generation Z may, on average, use less care, and know less about how health care works, than older U.S. adults.

Because the U.S. health care system has changed so much, even in the past five years, that kind of period-over-period comparison data is not readily available. 

Here are five things the Transamerica center analysts have learned about Generation Z consumers, drawn from the center’s survey report.

1. Uninsurance

Even though many Generation Z workers can get health coverage through their parents, they are more likely to be uninsured than members of any other generation surveyed. 16% of them are uninsured.

The overall uninsurance rate is 12%.

Millennials have the second-highest uninsured rate, and about 14% of them are uninsured.

2. Affordable Care Act Public Health Insurance Exchange System Use

Obama administration policymakers tried to market the ACA exchange system and premium subsidies to young, healthy consumers, but the Transamerica center team found that fewer than 1% of the Generation Z survey participants reported having coverage purchased through an exchange.

About 4% of all survey participants said they had exchange plan coverage.

Generation X, or people born from 1946 to 1965, had the second lowest exchange plan use rate: only 3% of the participants in that age group reported using exchange plan coverage.

3. Views of the Affordable Care Act Exchange System

Although few members of Generation Z have ACA exchange plan coverage, about 55% said they were very or somewhat positive about the ACA, compared with 20% of all survey participants, and just 37% of the baby boomer participants.

4. Affordable Care Act Individual Health Coverage Purchase Requirement

The ACA requires many people to have what the government classifies as solid major medical coverage or else pay a penalty.

Members of Generation Z support the mandate more than members of any other generation.

About 52% of Generation Z survey participants said they support the mandate, compared with 43% of all participants, and just 36% of the baby boomer participants.

5. Getting Health Care

Many Generation Z survey participants would like more help with getting health care services. About 39% said they were “not very informed,” or “not at all informed” about how to get the care they need, compared with just 20 %of all survey takers, and just 13% of the baby boomer participants. 

—Read Generation Z Will Out-Earn and Outwork the Rest of Us on ThinkAdvisor.

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