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Health care reform helps 600,000 young adults in 2010

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Affordable health insurance through health reform

A new report from the Commonwealth Fund shows 600,000 young adults benefited by obtaining health insurance in 2010.

Twenty nine percent of young adults had no insurance coverage in 2001. In 2010, 45 percent of youth age 19 to 29 lacked insurance coverage, highlighting the need and value of provisions under the Affordable Care Act.

Commonwealth Fund Vice President and lead report author, Sara Collins said, "This is not an easy time for young adults—they are struggling to find employment in a difficult job market, and are among the age groups hardest hit by rising health care costs.”

The Affordable Health Care Act allows college graduates to remain insured under their parent’s plan until they find employment with health care coverage – something that has allowed the 600,000 young adults to obtain prescriptions, doctor visits when sick, health testing and follow-up visits.

The Commonwealth Fund's 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey, the report, Realizing Health Reform's Potential: How the Affordable Care Act is Helping Young Adults Stay Covered found 40 percent of young adults had difficulty paying medical bills and debts related to health care costs. Others reported changing lifestyle to manage medical bills.

One in five had to use a credit card or medical expenditures and one third had depleted their savings.

13 million young adults will be insured by 2014

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By 2014, 13 million young adults will have affordable health insurance as Medicaid coverage begins for single persons earning at or below $14,404 annually. The result is expanded coverage for 7.2 million uninsured young adults.

Another 4.9 million will receive affordable health care from state insurance exchange programs that offer maternity benefits, low to moderate income subsidies and affordable premiums regardless of gender or health status.

Currently, 53 percent of young adults earning $10,830 for a single person reported inability to afford needed health care. Those earning between $10,830 and $21,660 and higher also reported difficulty obtaining health care, compared to 2001 percentages.

By 2013 young adults who now can remain insured up to age 26 under parents’ health insurance policies, is expected to expand coverage in the next two years to 1.7 million.

Karen Davis, Commonwealth Fund President, says, …”in 2014, nearly all young adults will have access to the comprehensive and affordable health insurance they need, allowing them to pursue their life and career goals without the worry that one serious illness or accident could derail their future plans."

The finding shows The Affordable Health Care Act will ensure financial stability for millions of young adults and has already helped 600,000 in 2010.