Job Prospects, Health Insurance and Student Loans Are Big Worries for College Students and Grads in 2012

Expectations and reality don’t match up when it comes to income and health insurance, according to eHealthInsurance survey
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—May 16, 2012 – According to a national survey sponsored by eHealthInsurance (NASDAQ: EHTH), the leading online source of health insurance for individuals and families, this year’s college graduates are not likely to earn anywhere near as much as they think they need in order to be financially secure, and their expectations for getting employer-sponsored health insurance are unrealistic.
The survey, conducted in April 2012 by Kelton Research, found that this year’s college graduates may be in for a harsh reality check when they enter the job market. According to the survey:
  • Today’s college students estimate that they will need to earn an average salary of $81,600 per year after graduation in order to feel financially secure; however, former college students who had graduated in the past three years said that their first job out of college paid only $21,900 per year on average
  • More than eight-in-ten college students (82%) believe their first job out of college is likely to provide them with health insurance; however, nearly six-in-ten recent grads (59%) say that their first job out of college did not provide them with health insurance
The survey also revealed a high level of anxiety about student loans. A strong majority of both current students and recent grads would risk going uninsured rather than default on their student loan payments:
  • Among those with student loans, about six-in-ten current students (58%) and recent grads (62%) are afraid they won’t be able to pay their student loans at some point during their twenties
  • More than seven-in-ten current students (72%) and recent grads (75%) with loans say that they would rather go without health insurance than default on their student loans
Other survey findings on students’ and grads’ expectations for their careers and incomes include the following:
On Job Market Prospects                      
  • A majority of current college students (62%) are afraid they won’t find a job after graduation; more than half (54%) are afraid they won’t find a job in their chosen field
  • Six-in-ten recent grads (60%) say they have already run into trouble finding a job or are worried that they won’t find a job at some point in their twenties
  • When asked to identify “non-negotiable” employment benefits from a list, students (40%) and grads (38%) say they are more likely to pass on a job that didn’t offer health insurance than any other benefit
  • Over half (51%) of both current students and recent grads think it’s more important for new college graduates to take a job they may not like in order to get health insurance, rather than taking a job they like but that doesn’t provide coverage
On Income Expectations
  • While current students estimate they would need an average annual income of $81,600 in order to feel financially secure after graduation, recent grads say they would feel financially secure with an annual gross income of $61,800 on average
  • The survey suggests that current students don’t really expect to feel financially secure anytime soon, however: they expect their first job out of college will earn them an average annual salary of $37,100
  • Among recent graduates, women believe they need a substantially higher annual income ($80,300 on average) compared to men ($42,300 on average) in order to feel financially secure
  • Among current students, men expect their first job post-graduation to pay substantially more ($41,700 on average) than women envision ($32,200 on average)
  • Both of these are still substantially higher than the average $21,900 that recent grads report their first job out of college actually paid them
  • Parents of current students or recent grads believe their children should feel financially secure with an annual income of $54,200 on average
An analysis of survey results touching on these themes has been prepared by Kelton Research and is available for download through the eHealthInsurance Media Center.
The eHealthInsurance Survey of College Students, Grads and Parents was conducted by Kelton Research between April 13 and April 23, 2012, using an email invitation and an online survey. Kelton Research surveyed a sample of 271 full-time college students ages 18-30, as well as 255 recent college graduates ages 18-30 who are in the workforce now or seeking employment. Kelton Research also surveyed a sample of 550 parents with full-time college students or recent graduates.
To learn more about survey results and survey methodology, please refer to eHealthInsurance’s May 7, 2012 press release.
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About eHealth
eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) is the parent company of eHealthInsurance, the nation's leading online source of health insurance for individuals, families and small businesses. Through the company's website,, consumers can get quotes from leading health insurance carriers, compare plans side by side, and apply for and purchase health insurance. eHealthInsurance offers thousands of individual, family and small business health plans underwritten by more than 180 of the nation's leading health insurance companies. eHealthInsurance is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, making it the ideal model of a successful, high-functioning health insurance exchange. Through the company’s eHealthTechnology solution (, eHealth is also a leading provider of health insurance exchange technology. eHealthTechnology’s exchange platform provides a suite of hosted e-commerce solutions that enable health plan providers, resellers and government entities to market and distribute products online. eHealth, Inc. also provides powerful online and pharmacy-based tools to help seniors navigate Medicare health insurance options, choose the right plan and enroll in select plans online through its wholly-owned subsidiary, ( and through its Medicare website 
For more health insurance news and information, visit the eHealthInsurance consumer blog: Get Smart – Get Covered.