People should be introduced to insurance at earlier age, Americans say

Most Americans believe insurance topics should be taught to students when they're in high school.

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, health insurance has become a major part of the public debate. This is particularly true for younger Americans, many of whom may feel like they don't need coverage because of their youth.

But if Americans' thoughts on life insurance are in any way similar to how they feel about health care awareness, it would be wise to introduce young people to the concept of coverage earlier than they are presently, a new poll suggests.

"41 percent think insurance education should start in high school."

Over three-quarters of consumers in a recent survey believe individuals should gain an understanding about health insurance prior to or during their high school years, according to a new report conducted and commissioned by nonprofit organization FAIR Health. At 41 percent, a plurality believed it ought to begin when young people reach the ninth grade.

Robin Gelburd, FAIR Health president, noted that for the most part, high schoolers aren't learning much about coverage in their course curricula, but this is something that many believe ought to change.

"Our survey results suggest that consumers have a strong appetite for health insurance information to help them navigate the dizzying landscape of healthcare benefits and healthcare choices," Gelburd explained.

Lack of familiarity
It would be one thing if health insurance was a simple topic to understand, but with industry terminology being foreign to the uninitiated, it can take time to wrap one's head around. The FAIR Health poll revealed that respondents were appreciative of the fact that health care affordability was important to achieve, but expressed some misgivings about how they could actually accomplish this goal.

While they may not be willing to travel to the ends of the earth to save on coverage, they'd be amenable to traveling fairly far distances if the payoff was lower medical bills. Nearly 60 percent of respondents in the FAIR Health poll said they'd drive 50 miles or more if they could see a primary care physician for half of what they'd pay seeking care closer to home.

Insurance professionals can help consumers gain a better understanding of their coverage options, but many aren't doing the groundwork needed to gain a sufficient comprehension, the survey suggested. For example, at an average of nearly 25 hours per year, respondents said they spent more time researching about their next vacation than they did their insurance options, the report said.

Life insurance expense frequently overestimated
These may be the same reasons why consumers can sometimes get the wrong impression about life insurance and how much it will cost them, as even those who are doing well financially want to avoid spending more than they have to. Based on separate polling conducted by worldwide research organization LIMRA, consumers frequently overestimate life insurance premiums by as much as 300 percent.

"Life insurance sales are up among buyers 44 and under."

Effective communication lies at the heart of converting more life insurance leads into sales. Throughout much of the past year, insurance professionals have succeeded with millennials and elements of Generation X. Among life insurance buyers 44 years of age and under, application volume has remained in positive territory for the entire year, MIB Index reported, with this past August and September being the only exceptions, down 0.9 percent and 2.6 percent respectively on a year-over-year basis.

At 77 percent, over three-quarters of millennials say they would be more likely than not to recommend owning life insurance to their peers, a poll done by LIMRA earlier this year discovered. That's up from 66 percent indicating as much in a similar survey performed in 2015.