About 42.5% Of Texas Young Adults Without Health Insurance
The Dallas Morning News on Thursday examined how Texas is "the state with the nation's highest rate of uninsured," with individuals ages 18 to 24 the least likely to have health insurance. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, about one-quarter of state residents, or 5.4 million people, in 2003 lacked health coverage, compared with the national uninsured rate of 15.6%. Among Texas residents ages 18 to 24, 42.5%, or 955,000, lack health insurance, according to a 2002 report by the state insurance department.
Many insurance companies do not cover adult children on their parent's insurance policies once children reach age 19, and many small companies that often hire young college graduates are less likely to provide comprehensive employee benefits, according to the Morning News. Young adults also have an "invincible attitude" and "don't think about insurance until they need it," the Morning News reports.
A state survey conducted in 2005 found that 78% of Texas college students said health insurance was very important. However, an estimated 36% of students attending Texas public colleges and 23% of those attending private colleges are uninsured, although 63% of state colleges offer some type of insurance plan, according to state insurance department estimates.
Melissa Welch, medical director of Aetna, said, "Young adults make up a large percentage of the uninsured population because they are unemployed, have temporary employment or forgo coverage since they expect to be in good health" (Roberson, Dallas Morning News, 6/21).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.