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Young adults at risk: 13.7 million lack health insurance coverage
Date:5/29/2008

May 30, 2008, New YorkThe number of uninsured young adults in the United States rose to 13.7 million in 2006an increase from 13.3 million in 2005making the 19-to-29 age group one of the largest and fastest-growing segments of the population without health insurance. According to a newly updated report from The Commonwealth Fund, 38 percent of high school graduates who do not attend college and 34 percent of college graduates will spend some time uninsured in the year after graduation.

According to the report, Rite of Passage? Why Young Adults Become Uninsured and How New Policies Can Help, working young adults are much less likely than older workers to have access to health insurance through their employers. Just over half (53%) of 19- to 29-year-olds were eligible for coverage offered by their employers, compared with about three-quarters (74%) of 30- to 64-year-olds.

Young adults often lose coverage at age 19, as a result of being dropped from parents policies or from public programs like Medicaid and the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Young adults from low-income households are most at risk: 72 percent of the 13.7 million uninsured young adults live in households with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level. As a result of young adults aging off parents policies or public programs, the uninsured rate jumps sharply after age 19, from 12 percent among children 18 and under to 30 percent among those ages 19 to 29.

Lack of coverage and access to health care services puts the health of young adults at risk, and can subject them, as well as their families, to potentially dire financial consequences, said Sara Collins, co-author and assistant vice president at The Commonwealth Fund. The report found that two-thirds (66%) of young adults who had a time without insurance coverage in the past year had gone without needed health care because of cost. One-half reported problems paying medical bills or were paying o
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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