The Affordable Care Act is making strides in the young adult demographic, with five national insurers indicating that more than 600,000 young adults have obtained new insurance coverage since a provision in the ACA allowed them to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. A report from the Commonwealth Fund says that in 2010, before the act’s passage, 45 percent of young adults ages 19–29 couldn’t afford the care they needed — they didn’t fill a prescription, didn’t go to the doctor when they were sick, or skipped a lab test, treatment, or follow-up visit. In 2001, 32 percent went without needed care because of cost.
It would seem the ACA was passed just in time, because the number of young adults who can benefit is sure to rise, especially through the summer as young adults graduate from high school and college and more employers open enrollment to this age group.
The Commonwealth Fund report, Realizing Health Reform’s Potential: How the Affordable Care Act Is Helping Young Adults Stay Covered, says young adults will see the biggest benefits from health reform in 2014 when expanded Medicaid coverage begins and health insurance exchanges with premium subsidies for private plans are launched.
“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,” says Sara Collins, a vice president of the fund. “But the Affordable Care Act has made things better for hundreds of thousands of young people, including this year’s college graduates, many of whom can remain on or join their parents’ plans until they find a job that provides health insurance. In the past, these young people would have had to go without insurance, or pay high prices for bare bones coverage on the individual market.”