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Health reform proposals could help 13 million uninsured young adults gain coverage
Date:8/15/2009

New York, NY, August 6, 2009 Comprehensive health reform proposals now before Congress could help the more than 13 million uninsured young adults ages 19-29 gain coverage, and such reforms would also help ensure that those who now have coverage would not lose it, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report. Extending health insurance coverage to all Americans through expansions in Medicaid and a health insurance exchange with a choice of private and public plans would help guarantee stable, affordable coverage for young adults, according to the report, Rite of Passage? Why Young Adults Become Uninsured and How New Policies Can Help, 2009 Update.

Young adults often become uninsured when they graduate from high school or college; turn 19 and are dropped from their parents' policies or become ineligible for Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP); have difficulty finding jobs; or are employed in jobs that do not come with health benefits. In 2007, nearly 30 percent of this age group, or 13.2 million, were uninsuredan increase of 2.3 million since 2000. With the unemployment rate currently at 15 percent among 20-24 year olds, up from 8.2 percent in 2007, more young adults are likely uninsured now.

"Because young adults face so many transitionsgraduation, job changes, and in this economy, unemploymentthey are especially vulnerable to the risks of being uninsured," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "Comprehensive health reform would go a long way toward ensuring that young adults have stable, affordable health coverage that will give them access to the care they need, and protect them in the event of a serious illness."

Young adults are disproportionately uninsured: they comprise just 17 percent of the under-65 population, but represent nearly 30 percent of all uninsured Americans. Young adults are particularly at risk of losing coverage at graduation from high school or college: nearly 2 in 5 high s
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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