Friday, September 23, 2011

Close To A Million Young Adults Have Insurance Through Health Reform

As noted earlier, implementation of health reform provisions in 2014 is projected to dramatically reduce the number of uninsured.

With little fanfare, mostly general support, and virtually no opposition, one provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act already has helped to cover between 500,000 and 900,000 new individuals.

According to recent figures from the Census Bureau, even though young adults are the age group least likely to have health insurance, 18-24 year olds were the only age group to experience a significant increase in the percentage with health insurance, from 70.7% in 2009 to 72.8% in 2010. This two percentage point increase in the share of adults 18-24 with coverage represents 500,000 more young adults with health insurance.

This increase in the share of 18-24 year olds is most likely due to the provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that allows children to remain on their parents' plans until age 26 According to an issue brief from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, "Given that the fraction with health coverage was stable or decreasing in other groups, the two percentage point increase in share with health coverage among 18-24 year olds almost certainly reflects the effects of the extension of dependent coverage to age 26."

Data from the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agrees. Among adults aged 19–25, the percentage without health insurance at the time of the most recent National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) fell from 33.9% (10 million) in 2010 to 30.4% (9.1 million) according to the

This percentage is lower than in 1997, when 31.4% of adults aged 19–25 were uninsured.

This is especially good news for a population that is nearly three times as likely to be underemployed in the fourth quarter of 2009 as the oldest group of workers.

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