Because of the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans now have access to affordable health care and millions more will soon have coverage, as well. One group of Americans that is especially benefiting from our new law is young adults.
According to the Obama administration, 2.5 million previously uninsured young adults ages 19 through 25 are now covered. The majority of those who have recently gained coverage took advantage of a provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26.
Historically, young adults have been the age group most likely to go without health insurance. Almost 28 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds were uninsured in 2010 compared to only 9.8 percent of children under 18 years of age and 20.5 percent of 26- to 64-year-olds. For young adults, the recession hit particularly hard.
In fact, many recent college graduates had a hard time finding a job with health insurance, or finding a job at all. As a result, even more young adults went without health coverage.
Thanks to the health reform law, young adults no longer have to take this gamble. And, millions of parents have peace of mind, knowing that their young adult children will get good, affordable health care when they need it. For millions of parents around the country, this provides a huge sigh of relief: They don’t have to worry about going bankrupt if disaster strikes and their child winds up in the emergency room with piles and piles of costly medical bills.
Insuring young adults is not only good for parents and kids; it’s good for us all. Because young adults are typically healthier and are less likely to need expensive medical services, their presence in the insurance pool means that costs for everyone are lower.
Without health reform, millions of young adults would be uninsured once they left college or even high school and the costs of their health care would ultimately be paid for by the insured when they eventually do seek medical attention.
Ensuring young adults are covered now saves us all money down the line and gives parents and their kids the peace of mind that they’ll have coverage they can count on when they need it the most.
Ron Pollack is the Founding Executive Director of Families USA, the national organization working to achieve high-quality, affordable health coverage for everyone in the U.S. The Hill, a weekly newspaper covering Congress, named Mr. Pollack one of the nine top nonprofit lobbyists. Modern Healthcare named him one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Health Care.