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Health reform essential to young adults: Nearly half can't afford needed health care
Date:5/25/2011

o go without insurance, or pay high prices for bare- bones coverage on the individual market."

Struggling With Medical Debt

Using findings from 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, also found that 40 percent of young adults had problems paying medical bills, had been contacted by a collection agency over unpaid bills, had to change their way of life to pay medical bills, or were paying off medical debt over time. Of those with medical bill problems or medical debt, one-third had to deplete their savings to pay their bills and one in five had to take on credit card debt.

Uninsured, Moderate Income, And Low Income Young Adults Struggle Most

Uninsured young adults had the hardest time among young adults affording the health care they needed. Fifty-eight percent of uninsured young adults delayed getting needed care due to cost, compared with only 34 percent of young adults who were insured all year. In addition, half (52%) of uninsured young adults had problems with medical bills or debt, compared to one-fourth (25%) of insured young adults.

The report found young adults across the income spectrum but particularly those in low- and moderate-income families, were having an increasingly hard time with health care costs: 53 percent of young adults earning less than $10,830 for a single person couldn't afford the health care that they needed, up from 32 percent in 2001, and 52 percent of young adults in households earning between $10,830 and $21,660 couldn't afford their health care. There was also a marked increase in not getting needed care among young adults with slightly higher incomes: in 2010, 38 percent of those earning more than $21,660 delayed care because of costs, compared to 25 percent in 2001.

How the Affordable Care Act Helps Young Adults

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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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