Students Losing Health Insurance After Graduation

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Students lose health insurance coverage after they graduate from high school or college or reach a certain age. Adults between ages 19 and 29 are among the largest and fastest-growing groups of people without health insurance coverage in the U.S.

Kaiser Health News/Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday examined health insurance for young adults, many of whom lose coverage after they graduate from high school or college or reach a certain age. According to the not-for-profit group Commonwealth Fund, adults between ages 19 and 29 are among the largest and fastest-growing groups of uninsured people in the U.S. In addition, the unemployment rate among people ages 20 to 24 reached 14.7% in April, an increase from 9% in 2008, Sara Collins, assistant vice president of the Commonwealth Fund, said, adding that "young people may now be even more vulnerable" to a loss of health coverage because of the economic downturn.

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Some states have enacted regulations requiring health insurance providers to extend coverage to young adults under their parents' health plans, even if the adult children do not remain in school, Kaiser Health News/Inquirer reports. According to Laura Tobler, health policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, state laws typically allow parents to continue to cover unmarried dependents up to age 25 under their plans, although some states have extended the age limit to 30. These regulations generally apply to group plans subject to state regulation and individual policies in some states.

In addition, health insurance companies such as Independence Blue Cross and Aetna are reaching out to young people with low-cost insurance plans. However, experts say these plans often come with high deductibles and provide mainly catastrophic coverage (FitzGerald, Kaiser Health News/Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/11).

This story was produced through a collaboration between the Philadelphia Inquirer and Kaiser Health News. KHN is an editorially independent news service that provides coverage of the policy and politics of health care. KHN is a service of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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