(HealthDay News) – Young, healthy adults are considered key to the success of health insurance reform, but many are not even aware of state insurance exchanges.

Based on survey data, few uninsured young adults know about the state health insurance exchanges, which are due to open on Oct. 1, 2013, but their participation in insurance exchanges is considered crucial to the success of the Affordable Care Act.

Insuring young, healthy people should help balance the risk of covering older, sicker adults, but if young people don’t sign up for insurance, the premiums could increase considerably. Young adults are more likely to be insured than any other age group, with uninsurance rates higher for Latinos and blacks than for whites. Based on a recent survey, only 27% of young people were aware of the health insurance exchanges, and of those uninsured for a period of time in the previous year, only 19% knew about them. However, young adults do value insurance, with many taking advantage of cover offered through work or staying on their parents’ health plans.

“I think it’s fair to say most young people will buy coverage if they consider it to be affordable and/or necessary, but until we see premiums, I think it’s going to be really difficult for young people to assess whether this is affordable relative to all the other expenses they have,” Linda Rowings, chief compliance officer at United Benefit Advisors, an Indianapolis-based provider of employee benefits advisory services, told HealthDay.

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