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New survey of young adults: 7.8 million gained new or better coverage through Affordable Care Act
Date:8/20/2013

New York, NY, August 21, 2013An estimated 7.8 million of the 15 million young adults who were enrolled in a parent's health plan last year likely would not have been eligible for this coverage without the health reform law's dependent coverage provision, according to a new Commonwealth Fund survey. However, the survey also found that only 27 percent of young adults were aware of the state health insurance marketplaces that are launching October 1. Moreover, millions of low-income young adults are at risk of remaining uninsured if the states they live in choose not to expand Medicaid.

The report, Covering Young Adults Under the Affordable Care Act: The Importance of Outreach and Medicaid Expansion, dispels the notion that young adults don't think they need health insurance. The survey of adults ages 19 to 29 found that when offered health insurance benefits through an employer, two-thirds (67%) took the coverage. For those who did not enroll in an employer health plan, the chief reasons given were that they were covered by a parent, spouse, or partner (54%) or that they couldn't afford the premiums (22%). Only 5 percent turned down coverage because they felt they didn't need insurance.

"There is a stereotype that young adults believe they are 'invincible' and don't want or need health insurance," said Commonwealth Fund vice president Sara Collins, the study's lead author. "This survey shows that is a mytha typical uninsured young adult is from a low- or middle-income family and works a low-wage job. In general, young adults value health insurance but cannot afford it."

Stressing the importance of outreach and education to ensure that people are aware of the reform law's benefits, the authors note that as young adults and their families became aware of the provision allowing them to remain on their families' insurance policies, uptake increased, from 13.7 million enrolled young adults in November 2011 to 15 million in March 2013.

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

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