What’s Happened to Millennials since the ACA? Unprecedented Coverage & Improved Access to Benefits

Millennials have seen large gains in health insurance coverage since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, outpacing every other age demographic. Young people had the highest pre-ACA uninsurance rates, but saw the sharpest declines, dropping from 29 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2015 – a fall of 45 percent. Despite constituting only 30 percent of the total United States population, young adults accounted for 46 percent of the newly insured from 2014 to 2015.

The ACA significantly reduced the number of uninsured Millennials, in large part, because of a) the expansion of Medicaid beyond narrow categorical eligibility requirements, b) the creation of advanceable, refundable tax credits offered to low and middle-income people, and c) expanded dependent coverage to allow young adults to stay on their parent or guardian’s health plan until the age of 26.

To learn more about how the ACA has improved coverage for young adults, read our latest brief.

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New ACA Repeal Bill Would Harm As Many As 30 Million Millennials with Pre-Existing Conditions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 20, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, Sarah.Schultz@YoungInvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

Today, it was made public that Congressman MacArthur plans to introduce an amendment to the American Health Care Act, which the Administration and members of the House have suggested could go to a vote next week. In response, Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles, released the following statement:

“Once again, just a few short weeks since House Republicans tried to dismantle our health care system and strip millions of coverage, GOP leaders are trying to force the unpopular American Health Care Act through –  this time, with a new amendment that will make a bad bill worse.

The MacArthur amendment would again make people with pre-existing conditions vulnerable to being charged higher premiums based on their health status, putting affordable health care in jeopardy for the 30 million Millennials living with a pre-existing health condition. The amendment also alleges to protect comprehensive coverage, but in reality the amendment would allow states to strip key services from health plans, like maternity care, substance use disorder services, mental health care, and other vital services that Millennials want and need in their health coverage.

These harmful changes will be the newest threats added to the AHCA, which would already take away the health coverage of 24 million people. Republican leaders need to abandon this reckless repeal effort once and for all.”

 

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Department of Education Needs to Provide Guidance on PSLF Eligibility

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 7, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, Sarah.Schultz@YoungInvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

[Washington] – Recently, the Department of Education stated in a legal filing that borrowers may not be able to rely on a determination made by their student loan servicer regarding their eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Under PSLF, workers in public service jobs can qualify for student loan forgiveness after making 120 qualifying payments on their loans.

While relevant statutes make clear that certain employers, such as government and 501(c)3 jobs, automatically qualify, the eligibility of employment at other non-profit organizations remains unclear. A pending legal case focuses on nonprofit organizations not specified in statute that servicers had previously said qualified for the program. As the New York Times recently reported, the Department has yet to provide any further guidance to workers or indicate if there will be any type of appeal process for those who have had their eligible status revoked.

Borrowers rely on the representations made by servicers to manage their loan payments, and eroding their ability to trust what they are being told, regardless of their place of employment, could have serious negative consequences.

Reid Setzer, Deputy Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs for Young Invincibles, released the following comment in response:

“The Department’s lack of clarity regarding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is putting the financial security of thousands of young adults across the country at risk. These workers have relied on their servicer’s determination that their employment qualifies them for forgiveness under the PSLF program, and have planned their finances and career decisions accordingly. The Department must provide clear guidance on which employers qualify workers for loan forgiveness and honor previous determinations that borrowers relied upon.”

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YI Hails Efforts to Protect Federal Student Aid

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 5, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, Sarah.Schultz@YoungInvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

YI Hails Efforts to Protect Federal Student Aid

[Washington]- Today, over 570 higher education stakeholders sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to protect the federal student loan program and strengthen Pell Grants, the nation’s most important investment in higher education.

The letter has support from a broad swath of organizations including higher education institutional associations, state university systems, colleges, civil rights organizations, youth advocacy groups, and student advocacy groups, all deeply concerned about recent proposals to dramatically cut or eliminate federal student aid programs. These cuts would hurt America’s workforce and limit access to higher education for millions of people.

Reid Setzer, Young Invincibles’ Deputy Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, released the following statement:

“The letter is a show of force from the higher education community because these aid programs are so essential to millions of students across the country and must be protected. Cutting funding for these programs means narrowing access to higher education and removing vital supports that help students complete their degrees. They are absolutely necessary to give young people the ability to get the skills needed to contribute to today’s economy. We and our partners are prepared to fight for them in the face of potentially devastating cuts.”

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People-Powered Defeat of AHCA a Victory for Young Adults

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 24, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, Sarah.Schultz@YoungInvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

This afternoon, House Leadership pulled the American Health Care Act from a vote after conceding that the legislation did not have support to move forward. In response, Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles, released the following statement:

“Over the past 7 years, more than 8 million young adults have gained insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and today’s victory protects that progress. Millions of low-income young people can continue to access Medicaid and discounted coverage, and millions more can continue to rely on benefits like free birth control, mental health services, and maternity coverage.

The fact that President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress did everything possible to take that security away is unconscionable. Their efforts failed because of the voices of people all over the country who shared their stories, made calls to Congress, attended rallies, and posted on social media – and this generation was a big part of that effort. Those young people will continue to speak up when leaders in Washington threaten their well-being.”

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Statement: Rep. Grothman AHCA Amendment Attacks Young Adult Coverage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 22, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, Sarah.Schultz@YoungInvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

Yesterday afternoon, Congressman Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin introduced an amendment to the AHCA, which would eliminate young adults’ ability to stay on a parent’s plan until age 26. Today the House Rules Committee will vote on this amendment, among others.

Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles released the following statement:

“Congressman Grothman’s amendment is a blatant attack on young people trying to get their start in life. Not only is dependent coverage one of the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act, but more than 2.3 million young adults have gained coverage by staying on a parent’s health plan until they turn 26.  This amendment would kick young people off coverage and harm their health.”

 

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Trump’s “Skinny” Budget Makes Deep Cuts to Higher Education and Job Programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 16, 2017
Contacts: Sarah Schultz

Trump’s “Skinny” Budget Makes Deep Cuts to Higher Education and Job Programs

Today, the Trump Administration released its FY18 “skinny” budget, which deeply harms young adults’ economic security and drastically limits their access to higher education.

Reid Setzer, Young Invincibles’  Deputy Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs released the following statement:

“The Trump administration’s FY18 budget makes severe cuts to higher education, far deeper than any recently proposed. This includes slashing almost 4 billion dollars from the Pell Grant program, which helps nearly 8 million low- and moderate-income students access and afford college. This cut is fiscally irresponsible and will accelerate potential budget shortfalls in the program, as well as increase the financial burden on millions of young people buried under student debt. The budget also ignores bipartisan proposals to improve the program and lessen that burden, including reinstating Year-Round Pell.

Additionally, the Trump administration’s budget dramatically cuts funding for Federal Work Study, TRIO, and GEAR UP,  as well as eliminating the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant program all together. These programs, which open up access and support systems for low- and moderate-income students, have had decades of support from Congress, colleges, and higher education stakeholders. This is a clear indication that this administration is not committed to expanding opportunity or improving equity, especially for students of color.

The budget also makes vague cuts to job training and employment service grants and would eliminate AmeriCorps, further limiting options for young people looking to find work or serve their country. In an age where  a postsecondary degree or credential is necessary for achieving financial security, young people need pathways to quality education, training, and marketable skills to achieve the American dream. This budget cruelly pushes it farther away. We can and must do better, and call upon Congress to reject this vision for America’s future.”

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Dispelling the Myth: House GOP Repeal Bill will Nearly Double Uninsurance for Young Adults

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 13, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, Sarah.Schultz@YoungInvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

A new analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office finds that House Republicans’ American Health Care Act (AHCA) would cause 24 million people to lose health care coverage over the next decade, including an estimated almost 6 million young adults.

House Republicans and others insist that the proposal would be good for young people, pointing to changes in age rating, reduction in benefit packages, and the tax credit structure that decreases premiums for some young people. But the CBO’s analysis shows that the overall impact of the plan results in loss of coverage and quality options for young people. These coverage losses will be driven primarily by the impact of the AHCA on low-income young adults, as those who depend on Medicaid, means-tested tax credits, and cost-sharing subsidies will see their coverage options dissolve. Many of these individuals will also face the prospect of a new 30 percent continuous coverage surcharge, or “Millennial Penalty,” for realizing a gap in coverage.  The result of those changes is an increase in uninsurance among 19-29 year olds of more than 10 percentage points.

Millions of Young Adults will Lose Coverage

The ACA cut the young adult uninsurance rate nearly in half, whereas the CBO estimates that the AHCA would cause the young adult uninsurance rate to nearly double.

  • Uninsurance: According to our analysis of the CBO’s projections, under the AHCA, young adults age 19-29 would see an increase in the uninsured rate from about 12% currently to about 22%, resulting in an estimated 5.76 million more — or 11.6 million total — young adults without insurance by 2026.
  • Impact of Cutting Medicaid and Means-Based Tax Credits:
    • Medicaid: 3.8 million young people (age 18-34) have gained coverage through Medicaid expansion. If all states expanded Medicaid, 4.2 million more young adults could qualify for coverage and the Millennial uninsurance rate would drop to as low as 9.2 percent.
      • The AHCA effectively guts Medicaid, and the CBO projects this will result in a coverage reduction of 14 million people by 2026.  Millions of those left behind will be under the age of 30.
  • 12.3 million young adults age 19-29 have incomes that are at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Line, so it is likely that millions of low-income young people would lose out not only on their Medicaid options, but would receive less generous tax credits, as the AHCA ends means-based tax credits.
    • The CBO similarly suggests that people living within this income bracket will not see their premiums go down.
    • The CBO states that changes in age rating, the flat tax credits adjusted only by age, and a reduction in the quality of plans available would bring premiums down for many moderate- and upper-income young people and increase the share of young people in the risk pool.  These changes, however, do not outweigh the coverage losses that young people see due to losses in Medicaid coverage and means-based tax credits for the lowest-income young people.
  • The Millennial Penalty: People who experience a gap in coverage for more than 63 days during the previous year will be charged a 30 percent premium surcharge for the next 12 months. Life changes that can cause brief disruptions in coverage disproportionately burden young adults, who are more likely to move, change jobs, or lack the resources to handle financial hardships that may lead to lapses in coverage.  The CBO similarly states that this penalty will make healthy consumers far less likely to enroll.
      • The CBO estimates that 2 million fewer people would purchase insurance in the years after 2018 as a result of the continuous coverage penalty.
      • *Coming this week: New YI analysis looks at the scale of how many young people could be subject to the Millennial Penalty — and how the figures compare to other age groups.
  • Defunding Planned Parenthood: Millions of young people rely on Planned Parenthood. The CBO estimates that low-income people living in areas without access to other clinics or practitioners serving low-income populations would be most impacted, and that 15 percent of this population would lose access to care.

Higher Out of Pocket Costs Create Barriers to Care

The CBO projects that much of the decrease in premium costs can be attributed to a decrease in the quality of coverage offered, in turn raising out-of-pocket costs for consumers, many of whom are low-income.  But young people have consistently chosen better plans when given the choice and the means. For example, the ACA offers a “catastrophic plan” option, primarily for those under 30 – but less than 1 percent of marketplace enrollees have chosen that option.  At the same time, young people have a negative 2 percent savings rate due to other financial constraints, making high deductibles and cost-sharing a significant barrier to care.

  • High Out-of-Pocket Costs:  Under the AHCA, there will be no requirements for insurance companies to sell plan options with higher actuarial values. The CBO estimates that most plans will drop to 60 percent actuarial value (equal to the current Bronze plan).
  • No Cost-Sharing Subsidies: The CBO estimates that AHCA plans with lower actuarial values will result in higher out-of-pocket costs than current ACA plans, especially once cost-sharing subsidies are eliminated in 2020 as proposed by the plan.
    • About 44 percent of young people earn below 250 FPL, the cut-off for cost-sharing subsidies under the ACA.
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House GOP Plan Detrimental to Millennials’ Access to Health Coverage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 6, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, Sarah.Schultz@YoungInvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

Tonight, House Republicans introduced a bill to repeal and replace the ACA, which would have devastating effects on millions of young adults, a group which has seen the greatest health care gains under the ACA: in the past six years, Millennial uninsurance rates have dropped from 29 percent to 16 percent. Included in the bill are the following provisions that would be particularly detrimental to young people’s health and access to coverage, with statements from Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles:

Continuous Coverage Surcharge: The Millennial Penalty

“House Republicans say that they want to improve the pool and bring costs down for everyone, but this plan would do the exact opposite by imposing a “Millennial Penalty,” letting insurers charge people very steep penalties for brief lapses in coverage commonly resulting from life changes that disproportionately burden young adults, who are more likely to move, change jobs, or lack the resources to handle financial hardships that may lead to lapses in coverage.”

  • Data point: Young people move at twice the national rate, change jobs more than their older counterparts, and have incomes 20 percent less than their parents did at their age – leading to lower savings and wealth accumulation.

Gutting Medicaid
“The proposal states that they are modernizing Medicaid, but their plan would force states to cut access to coverage and care for millions of young people and families that qualify for expanded Medicaid.”

  • Data point: 3.8 million young people have gained coverage through Medicaid expansion. If all states expanded Medicaid, Millennial uninsurance rates could have dropped by as much as another 7 percentage points.

Defunding Planned Parenthood:
“Millions of young people rely on Planned Parenthood: by defunding Planned Parenthood this proposal would slash access to critical health care services for our generation.”

 

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#InvestInYouthSkills

A Campaign To Address Crisis Level Youth Unemployment in New York State

In December of 2016, YI released a study–Sounding the Alarm: New York’s Young Adult Unemployment Crisis & the Need for State-Based Reforms-which found that New York has a serious young adult unemployment crisis. We also looked closely at the state’s single largest investment to tackle this issue, the $50 million Urban Youth Jobs Program–a small dollar tax credit available to employers who hire disadvantaged young adults. We found that it does nothing to train disadvantaged young adults, and that employers would much rather have a skilled worker than a stand alone small dollar tax credit. To learn more, see our one-pager below:

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WE GOT THE ATTENTION OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE….
The alarm is working, keep sounding it! Youth unemployment and the Urban Youth Jobs Program were all the buzz at the Joint Legislative Human Services Budget Hearing in Albany on February 8th. Legislators had lots of questions for the Department of Labor about how effective the program is in tackling high young adult unemployment.

This is most likely because the program has undergone significant changes since 2012 and has become an annual $50 million program with zero evidence suggesting the program is actually working. What’s more, the required annual reports that are mandated to be submitted to the legislature for their oversight are missing. This year the Governor’s Executive Budget is proposing to authorize another $50 million a year for five years.

Watch Assemblyman Harry Bronson (D-Rochester) ask the New York State Department of Labor a few important questions and offer up a solution that makes sense to us:

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Assemblyman Bronson’s recommendation to repurpose unused dollars dedicated to the Urban Youth Jobs Program to fund the Empire State Apprenticeship Program (ESAP) is also a top solution Young Invincibles recommends in our latest report. ESAP would allow employers in growing sectors to claim tax credits that would help offset the costs associated with training an apprentice for three years. A key difference between the two programs is that–unlike the Urban Youth Jobs Program–the Empire State Apprenticeship Program not only trains disadvantaged young adults in growing sectors but connects them to long-term careers that pay well further helping fill the state’s skills gap. Check out our Legislative Memo of Support here.

BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Your legislators need to hear from you ASAP! Over the next few weeks state legislators will be debating priorities for this year’s state budget due on April 1st and it’s critical they hear from you! Join Young Invincibles in urging them to invest in strategies like the Empire State Apprenticeship Program that invest in developing the skills of disadvantaged young adults.

Click here to send a letter to your state legislative representatives urging them to support the Empire State Apprenticeship Program as a first step to tackling New York’s alarmingly high young adult unemployment rate. TAKE ACTION!

WANT MORE?
Read some of the unanswered questions by Assemblyman Bronson and other members of the Legislature.

Assemblyman Bronson had some good questions about the Urban Youth Jobs Program that we are also looking to find answers on. His questions include:

  • What is the age breakdown of the youth who have been employed under the program?
  • What is the average length of time someone is employed and how many of these jobs are seasonal?
  • Can we have access to the mandated annual reports, which don’t seem to be available and haven’t been accessible to the public?
  • Given how research from Young Invincibles tells us that employers are more interested in having a trained workforce might it not be a good opportunity for us to use some of those tax credit dollars to hire those young people as apprentices?

Assemblyman Bronson wasn’t the only member of the state legislature to have important questions about the Urban Youth Jobs Program that need answering.

Assemblywoman Jaffee asked how many youth participated in the program since its inception? What type of jobs does the program generate? Are there any numbers to understand how many youth maintained employment in the second year benefit?

Senator Montgomery asked what are the corporations that are actually participating in the program, how many youth are participating, what percent of the funding goes to the areas where there is the highest need, and where across the state is the program most used?

Senator Persuad asked do you have any evidence as to how many youth have been advanced through this program? How many youth have come from where they were at the poverty level to out of poverty? Do you have any data showing if young adults remain employed after the tax credit expires?

Senator Krueger asked the difference between the Minimum Wage Reimbursement Tax Credit (MWRC) subsidy program and the Urban Youth Jobs Program as both cost the state the same amount of money and are designed to serve a similar demographic? What industries are using that credit? For both programs that require missing annual reports for both programs, what’s working, are young adults continuing to keep jobs after the credit is used up, and are these tax credits just a way for some companies to figure out how to use the tax dollar to pay for wages they would have used anyway such as fast food companies?

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