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Health Reform Should Provide Insurance to Many Young Adults
Date:5/21/2010

Some provisions start in September and will make coverage more affordable, easier to get, report says

FRIDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- Most of the 13.7 million younger Americans who currently lack health insurance could gain coverage under the health reform package signed into law by President Barack Obama in March, a new report from The Commonwealth Fund says.

Starting in September, many uninsured young adults up to 26 years of age will be eligible to remain on their parents' insurance plans, as the initial provisions of the Affordable Care Act start to take effect, the report noted.

"We have entered into a new era in American health care," Cathy Schoen, the Commonwealth Fund's senior vice president for research and evaluation, said during a Thursday teleconference to discuss the report, Rite of Passage: Young Adults and the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

When the law is fully enacted in 2014, an estimated 32 million Americans who currently lack health insurance will have access to coverage, Schoen said. "And," she added, "millions of under-insured will be protected against high medical costs and debt, and access to care will improve."

Since 2003, the Commonwealth Fund -- a private foundation that seeks to promote high-quality health care for all -- has issued an annual report on trends in health insurance among young adults 19 to 29, Sara Collins, the Commonwealth Fund's vice president for affordable health insurance, said during the teleconference.

"Every year the results have shown increasing numbers of young adults who are uninsured for all or part of the year and have ended up skipping medical care or struggling with medical debt," Collins said.

In 2008, an estimated 13.7 million young adults were without health insurance, which is about 30 percent of all uninsured people under 65, Collins said. And in 2009, 76 percent of uninsured younger adults did not get needed health
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