One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that took effect in September 2010 allowed children/young adults to stay on their parent’s health insurance policies until their 26th birthday. The reason for this provision was that young adults ages 19-25 had the highest rates of being uninsured of any age group in the U.S.
For the past two springs in my health policy course I’ve asked students to raise their hands if they were now receiving health insurance under the ACA provision. This past spring about half of the students in this age range raised their hands. My own son who is in graduate school has been able to continue on my health insurance because of the ACA. Highly unscientific evidence for this part of the ACA working, but evidence nonetheless.
Now there is more objective evidence that the ACA is working for young adults. A NYT article today by Sabrina Tavernise “More Young Adults Have Health Insurance After Health Care Law, Study Says,” reports on data from a recent CDC/National Health Interview Survey. Lack of health insurance among young adults 19-25 fell from 33.9 percent in 2010 to 27.9 percent in 2011, translating into about 1.6 million fewer uninsured young adults. There was a corresponding increase in young adults having private insurance over the same time period, from 49.3 percent in the third quarter 2010 to 58.8 percent in the fourth quarter 2011. These positive changes for young adults were seen across different racial groups. Additional evidence that the ACA is working for young adults is that lack of insurance grew for adults ages 26-34.
As most everyone knows by now, young adults have been the hardest hit by the Great Recession. It is good to hear that something is going in their favor.