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Young Dropping Coverage as Uninsured Grows By 2 Million

Recent health care coverage gains are beginning to fade at the edges as 2 million more Americans, mainly the young, became uninsured this year, according to a major new survey.

The uninsured rate among U.S. adults rose from record lows of 10.9 percent in the last part of 2016 to 11.7 percent in the second quarter of 2017, according to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index published Monday.

U.S. uninsured rate
The U.S. uninsured rate rose in the second quarter of 2017. Gallup

The increases were mainly concentrated among adults aged 18-25 and 25-34, going up 1.9 and 1.5 points respectively. That's higher than the 0.8 point overall increase.

Young consumers are typically more price responsive and may be more sensitive to the rising premium costs in individual health care markets, the survey's authors wrote. They might prefer to pay the tax penalty than fork out for more expensive premiums on coverage that they themselves use less than older Americans.

"Rising insurance premiums could be causing some Americans to forgo insurance, especially those who fail to qualify for federal subsidies," the survey said.

"Furthermore, some insurance companies are leaving the ACA marketplace, and the lack of competition could be driving up the cost of plans for consumers."

The survey was conducted by telephone interviews with 45,087 U.S. adults aged 18 and up, from April 1 to June 30.