A large part of the millennial population is still cooped up in their parent’s basements, but more are saying they are growing up by making more financial decisions following their first job. This blooming adult group, however, is missing out on the benefits of protecting their health through voluntary insurance, according to new survey findings from The Hartford.    

The “adult” label was heralded by about half of the surveyed population who said achieving their first job and making financial decisions granted them access to adulthood. For 38% of the December 2013 Gen Y Speaks survey group, becoming an adult consisted of moving out of their parents’ homes. Twenty-seven percent said starting a family and 23% said that getting married is milestone of growing up.

“I think millennials don’t realize that protecting their own health and protecting the other people that rely on their paycheck [is vital],” says Lindsey Pollak, a spokesperson for The Hartford’s My Tomorrow Campaign. “They’re not understanding the need to protect that because I think they are living in a millennial world, but they’re still making benefit choices based on what baby boomers would have done in their day.”

The Hartford, Conn.-based insurance and group benefits leader says it believes millennials correlate getting hitched and having children as life milestones where additional voluntary insurance is needed. As a result, 64% and 43% of the 500 surveyed agree that starting a family calls for life and disability insurance, respectively.

According to Pollak, HR professionals are well-positioned to educate the benefits of disability and life insurance that can assist their incoming workforce’s preparedness for what life can throw at them.

“I think HR plays such an important role because millennials can’t ask their parents,” says Pollak. “They were living in a very different benefits world, where things were kind of handed to you, and now we have to make voluntary choices.”

The second year of The Hartford’s My Tomorrow Campaign continues with more knowledge of what the age group lacks in terms of understanding the need for insurance benefits. However, Pollak notes that the Affordable Care Act may actually help with the population’s health care understanding.

“I think the Affordable Care Act has opened an opportunity to talk about insurance in general,” she says. “I think millennials understand that they’re going to have to make more choices.”

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