Generation Y’s Role in Making the Marketplaces Work and Advancing a Culture of Health

Feb 24, 2014, 9:00 AM


Every New Year brings New Year’s resolutions. It is a time for reflection on years past and to develop actionable changes needed for a hopeful and productive new year. Clearly 2014 is no exception. With the New Year already in full swing, I encourage people—yes, this also includes you, Generation Y—to enroll in a health insurance plan and take advantage of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) current and new coverage opportunities in an effort to advance our nation’s culture of health.

You might be asking yourself a few questions such as: Who is Generation Y and why are they important? I am happy to provide answers.

The largest generation, Generation Y, or Millennials, consists of young adults born between 1977 and 1994. This important demographic is key to obtaining a sustainable health care exchange system with affordable insurance plans. Healthy Millennials must enroll in the marketplace to offset the high costs acquired by the disproportionate number of Americans with high medical costs. Unfortunately, only a small number of young adults have participated in the health care exchange since open enrollment. This isn’t surprising. 

I am a Millennial. My generation of young adults often lives paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford high premiums and deductibles. Some would say we have the mindset of being invincible. Whatever the reason may be, health care is too important for anyone to opt out and remain uninsured. I encourage my Millennials and the rest of our nation to learn and understand the provisions and benefits of the ACA. Review the list of preventive services and products that are covered with no copays, such as vaccinations, mammograms, blood work, and blood pressure checks. Prevention can lead to a promising culture of health in our country.

Ensuring a culture of health begins with public health efforts, through education, to enable people to develop healthy behaviors and lifestyles. Public health as a society collectively provides effective knowledge, based on research, for evaluating and creating policies that will protect and promote health for all cultures of individuals and their communities. Health care providers can work together to remove socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic disparities in health and to meet individuals’ needs.

I envision an equitable culture of health through access to affordable and quality health care in America, with promises of economic and health prosperity.

Read more about No’s background and work.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.