New House Document Is No Plan to Protect Millennials’ Health Care


February 17, 2017

Contact: Sarah Schultz,, 202.734.6510

New House Document Threatens Millennials’ Health Care, Would End Medicaid As We Know It

[WASHINGTON]–On Thursday, House Republicans released a document that makes clear that they have no plan to protect Millennials’ health care and would trample on the progress young adults have made under the Affordable Care Act. YI’s Executive Director Jen Mishory released the following statement on the paper:

“Studies have shown that proposals similar to the House Republican release would strip young adults of their coverage and increase costs for young people currently eligible for premium tax credits. The House document, certainly not an actual plan, would also provide significant tax cuts to the rich while ending Medicaid as we know it — cutting coverage and benefits for the most vulnerable in our society, including pregnant women, people with disabilities, and low-income workers. It could also allow discrimination against up to 30 million young adults with a pre-existing condition. Under the Affordable Care Act, more than 8 million young adults have gained coverage. Under House Republicans’ framework, costs will rise, the number of uninsured will climb, and protections against insurers’ worst abuses will be stripped away. That’s bad for young people’s health.”


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Cassidy-Collins Bill Would Cut Millennials’ Coverage Access & Quality, Not Improve It


January 24, 2017

CONTACT: Sarah Schultz,, 202.734.6510

[WASHINGTON]–Yesterday, Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Patient Freedom Act of 2017, a plan that would threaten young adults’ access to health care coverage and benefits. Young Invincibles’ Executive Director, Jen Mishory, released the following statement in response to the proposal:

“Last week, Young Invincibles and 53 other organizations called on Congress to ensure that young adults have equal or improved access to high-quality, affordable health coverage under any potential plan to replace the ACA. While Senators Cassidy and Collins’ plan would allow young people to stay on a parent’s policy until age 26, a popular and important provision of the ACA, their plan misses the mark on providing quality and affordable coverage for young people broadly. Under the Cassidy-Collins plan, financial assistance would fall, states could rely on high-deductible health plans with skimpier benefits, or states could simply eliminate coverage options for millions. The plan also lets states dump provisions of the ACA that limit insurance company profits, providing insurers a windfall at the expense of consumers and taxpayers. Congress should take action to improve health care, but cutting coverage access and quality in states that opt to leave Obamacare would threaten Millennials’ financial health, not improve it.”


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5 Reasons #PriceIsWrong for Millennials’ Health

By Colin Seeberger


Rep. Tom Price’s history as a member of Congress raises alarming flags about the policies he might champion as Secretary of Health & Human Services. He needs to answer for this record. Here’s a quick rundown of how a Secretary Price could significantly undermine Millennials’ health.

1. Price would significantly cut young people’s access to coverage.

In the last Congress, Rep. Price authored a bill called Empowering Patients, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act, or the essential means by which 8 million young adults have gained health care coverage, including 2.3 million young people who have been able to stay on a parent’s plan until they turn 26 (dependent coverage provision); 3.8 million through Medicaid expansion; and millions more through federal and state health insurance marketplaces. A new report from the Congressional Budget Office finds that repealing the Affordable Care Act would cause 18 million to lose their insurance and premiums to increase up to 25 percent next year. A Kaiser analysis of Rep. Price’s Empowering Patients legislation, his bill would would repeal the ACA’s dependent coverage provision and eliminate the ACA’s Medicaid expansion without a replacement to provide low-income enrollees coverage, much less coverage with comparable benefits.

2. Price doesn’t understand young women’s health needs.

Speaking at 2012 CPAC conference, when asked by a reporter about what women who have struggled to afford birth control should do if the ACA’s birth control mandate was undone, Rep. Price said: “Bring me one woman who’s [been unable to afford birth control]… There’s not one.” According to a 2010 Planned Parenthood Action Fund survey, 55 percent of women ages 18 to 34 have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control. It’s worth noting, Rep. Price has consistently voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

3. Price would give huge tax cuts to billionaires and cut financial help for low- and middle-income young adults.

Rep. Price’s health care bill would cut premium tax credits to low- and middle-income people and redirect that support, and in smaller levels, to individuals based on age. That means that young people, who have less work experience and thus typically lower wages, would see their access to financial assistance that helps them afford coverage slashed. Young adults are already earning $10,000 less than young adults a generation ago, so restructuring the financial help how Rep. Price suggests would only further stunt Millennial’s economic vitality. Furthermore, Rep. Price’s bill would provide 2.5 times more financial assistance to purchase coverage for middle-aged people, regardless of their wealth or health status, as it would to young workers making the minimum wage. In other words, Price would give a tax credit that is 2.5 times larger to the CEO of Goldman Sachs than he would to a recent college graduate working full-time at the GAP.

4. Price would push young people into policies that don’t meet their needs.

Price’s bill would eliminate the ACA’s Essential Health Benefits that currently ensure all Qualified Health Plans include maternity and mental health coverage. Prior to the ACA, just 12 percent of policies sold on the individual insurance market included maternity coverage as a benefit, despite the fact that the average, uncomplicated pregnancy could, on average, set a consumer paying out of pocket back $18,000. Additionally, mental health and trauma-related disorders are the top two conditions for which young adults receive health care, and 7.6 million young adults receive care for mental health conditions annually.

5. Price would expose 30 million young adults with pre-existing conditions to being denied or charged more for coverage.

Kaiser’s analysis also notes that Price’s bill would repeal the ACA’s prohibition on denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. Instead, people with pre-existing conditions could be guaranteed coverage only if they are already insured or if they withstand an 18 month waiting period. In other words, say that you are working at a job and have a one week lapse in employment and health coverage, under Rep. Price’s bill, insurance companies would be allowed to deny you coverage for up to 18 months due to the one week lapse in coverage.

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New Census Data Shows Drop in Uninsured Rate for Millennials for Third Straight Year Since Full ACA Implementation

September 13, 2016
Contact: Sarah Schultz,, 202-734-6510

  • The uninsured rate for 18-34 year-olds decreased to 15 percent in 2015, continuing progress made over the last two open enrollment seasons of the ACA.
  • Young adults make up 46 percent of the newly insured, despite only making up 30 percent of the adult population.
  • Young Latinos, among the highest rates of uninsured, also see the steepest improvement.

New data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau shows the rate of young adults without health insurance has continued to drop for the third consecutive year since the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The rate of 18-to-34 year-olds without health insurance fell to 15.0 percent in 2015 from 17.2 percent in 2014 and 22.4 percent in 2013.

This drop reflects 5.2 million fewer uninsured young adults since 2013. Young adults make up 46 percent of the newly insured, despite only making up approximately 30 percent of the adult population, showing that this age group disproportionately benefits from the ACA.

“This new data shows that the ACA is working for more young people each year, with steady increases in coverage for an age group that has historically lacked coverage at higher rates than older Americans,” said Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles.

While we see improvements across the board for young adults this year, coverage for young Latinos improved by the most significant margins, as the rate of uninsured among this population has decreased from 28.5 percent in 2014 to 24.1 percent in 2015. This 15.3 percent drop is larger than the young white non-Hispanic decline of 12.1 percent, and the decline for young African Americans of 9 percent.

Rate without Health Insurance  
Race/Ethnicity 2014 2015 Percent change
White Non-Hispanic 12.6% 11.0% -12.1%
Latino 28.5% 24.1% -15.3%
African American 20.7% 18.9% -9.0%


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Young Invincibles: Damaging House Labor-H Bill Passes Appropriations Committee


Thursday, July 14, 2016

CONTACT: Nina Smith, nina.smith@younginvincibles.org301-717-9006

Damaging House Labor-H Bill Passes Appropriations Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House Appropriations Committee today passed the FY 2017 Labor-H Appropriations bill via a nearly party-line vote, which would cut Pell Grants and restrict the Department of Education’s ability to protect students from predatory education providers. It would completely eliminate funding for apprenticeships, child care for student parents, and health care access for millions of young adults.

Rory O’Sullivan, deputy director of Young Invincibles stated the following:

“The House Labor-H appropriations bill passed out of committee today ignores the barriers to opportunity facing millions of young people across the country. Slashing funding for education and child care could prevent young adults from establishing lasting careers, caring for their families, and boosting their earning potential with a college degree. At a time when our generation could become the first in American history worse off than our parents, this bill would put economic security further out of reach for millions.

The cuts in this bill are expansive.  Pell Grants would lose $1.3 billion, limiting access to college for eight million students seeking a postsecondary credential. The bill would zero-out funding for on-campus childcare essential for young parents seeking a degree – something that has enjoyed longstanding bipartisan support. It would also expose vulnerable students to deceptive, high-debt education providers with an outright repeal of the Gainful Employment rule.

Even as youth unemployment remains 40 percent above the national average, this bill eliminates already meager funding to support businesses hoping to establish and expand apprenticeship training programs that lead to well-paid jobs and productive employees. Finally, the bill would defund aspects of the ACA critical to ensuring health care access for millions of young people.

Students and working families count on these resources to make a better life for themselves and for their families. We commend Members of the Committee who stood up in support of smart investments that help Americans achieve economic security.  And we remain hopeful that Congress can find common ground that ensures access to a quality, affordable higher education, health care coverage for millions of young adults, and alternative pathways to essential workforce credentials in future spending agreements.”


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Young Invincibles Applauds Gov. Brown’s Signature on Groundbreaking Law Seeking Health Care Expansion Waiver

June 10, 2016

Nina Smith, Nina.Smith@younginvincibles.org301-717-9006

Young Invincibles Applauds Gov. Brown’s Signature on Groundbreaking Law Seeking Health Care Expansion Waiver

Historic legislation would expand access to the state’s health insurance marketplace for thousands of young Californian immigrants and DACA recipients

LOS ANGELES — Gov. Jerry Brown today signed SB 10 into law, a measure that will take California closer to making health care coverage available to all Californians. The new law seeks federal approval that would allow all Californians, regardless of immigration status, to buy health insurance at full price through the state’s health marketplace. California is now the first to state to apply for such a waiver since the Affordable Care Act’s enactment. 

Young Invincibles, a research and advocacy group dedicated to improving health care for young adults, applauded the governor and state legislature for making California a national leader in providing all young adults and young families with access to coverage.“The passage of SB10 corrects a longstanding injustice in our health care system by giving thousands of hardworking young people and young families in California the ability to purchase quality coverage,” said Gustavo Herrera, Western Regional Director for Young Invincibles. “Mixed status families fare better when they are able to shop around and purchase health insurance together. And thanks to the efforts of young activists, supporters, and leaders like Governor Brown and Senator Lara, we’ve made that possible. Today we move closer to achieving health care for all people, regardless of their immigration status.”

Under the law signed by Gov. Brown, the state will apply for a State Innovation Waiver found in section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to offer full-price health plans in Covered California to immigrants who are currently shut out of the state marketplace. California is now the first to state to apply for such a waiver since the ACA’s enactment.

Momentum to sign this historic bill was bolstered by immigrant and health advocates who attended last month’s Health4All Conference & Lobby Day in Sacramento, and by statewide advocacy from community members, who called on Governor Brown to sign SB 10. The bill also builds on the recent implementation of SB 75, or “Health4All Kids,” which expands full-scope comprehensive Medi-Cal for low-income undocumented children under the age of 19.

Mr. Herrera added,“YI will remain a part of the Health for All campaign to ensure the voices and perspectives of young adults and young families are included in the debate around health care in California. We will work until everyone is covered, and no Californian is locked out of healthcare because of where they were born.”

Young Invincibles is a national organization committed to elevating the voices of young adults, ages 18 to 34, and expanding economic opportunity for the Millennial generation. Young Invincibles ensures that young adults are represented in today’s most pressing societal debates through cutting-edge policy research and analysis, and innovative campaigns designed to educate, inform and mobilize our generation to change the status quo.



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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (March 16, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (March 16, 2016)

236 days to go…

Congrats! You’ve made it. We are officially past the halfway point in the presidential primary process. This is your weekly blast keeping you in the loop on Millennials and the 2016 election. Please share this week’s Millennial Memo, encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for updates here, and follow us on Twitter at @YoungInvincible.

THREE JUDGE PANEL FEATURING SCOTUS NOM MERRICK GARLAND OKAYS GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT RULE: “A federal appeals court handed a severe blow to for-profit colleges [last week], ruling in favor of an Obama administration rule that denies federal funds to programs whose graduates perform badly on the job market. The unanimous ruling, delivered per curiam by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is withering in its rhetoric, aggressively criticizing the reasoning that for-profit schools have sought to have unfettered access to the student loan market. ‘It would be strange for Congress to loan out money to train students for jobs that were insufficiently remunerative to permit the students to repay their loans,’ the decision says. ‘It would be a perverse system that, by design, wasted taxpayer money in order to impose crippling, credit-destroying debt on lower-income students and graduates.’ The so-called gainful employment rule, created by the Department of Education in 2014, governs which for-profit college programs are eligible to receive federal student loans. Under the rule, programs whose graduates struggle to find jobs that can repay their loans are first placed on probation, and later, if they fail to improve, are cut off from access to federal loans entirely.” (The Daily Caller, 3/9/2016)

TRUMP’S FLORIDA FOR-PROFIT EDUCATION COMPANY: “Donald Trump just won a key endorsement going into Tuesday’s Florida primary: the state’s attorney general, Pam Bondi. But her bigger favor to Trump may have been her decision in 2013 not to pursue an investigation of Trump’s for-profit education chain after he made a big donation to her re-election campaign. As Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel reported at the time, Bondi announced in September 2013 that her office was reviewing a series of complaints related to the Trump Institute of Boca Raton, a for-profit education company that is no longer in operation. Three days after the report that Bondi was considering joining other states’ attorneys general in taking action against Trump’s for-profit education chain, the real estate mogul dumped $25,000 into a committee organized for Bondi’s re-election. Bondi ended up taking no action.” (The Intercept, 3/14/2016)

PROSPECTIVE TREASURY SECRETARY UNDER HRC WEIGHS IN ON STUDENT DEBT: “Mohamed El-Erian, the former PIMCO co-head who’s thought to be Hillary Clinton’s favored pick for Treasury Secretary, compared the student loan situation in the US to the Greek debt crisis and said that some ‘debt forgiveness’ would be on the table… While student debt falls short of being a crisis, El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, said at an industry event, it’s a ‘headwind for growth.’ He added that doing anything to alleviate the debt burden would require significant political capital. ‘You can do a lot of focused debt forgiveness,’ El-Erian said. ‘Do I like doing that? No. Does it raise whole issues of fairness? Yes. But the alternative is worse.’ ‘This is like Greece. Nobody really wants to forgive Greece’s debt because of a lot of misbehavior, but if you don’t forgive Greece’s debt, you’re going to have multiple lost generations in Greece,’ he added.” (NY Post, 3/10/2016)

SANDERS CONVERTS FREE COLLEGE SKEPTIC, VOX’S MATT YGLESIAS: “I’ve come around to the idea that the correct tuition for qualified students at public colleges and universities is $0. The traditional case against free college… is that it’s a waste of money to offer publicly subsidized higher education to the children of affluent parents. But it also reminded me of the few times in my life that I met Trump’s daughter Ivanka. [Neither] of us was attending school at public expense, but we all could have been as a matter of right and public policy. Which is to say we don’t charge tuition at public high schools and then provide grants and loans to make it affordable to families in need. We make it free, and to the extent that we need to consider families’ differential ability to pay we do that through the tax code… We should also consider the possibility that a public commitment to subsidizing college without mandating that it be free actually encourages excessive spending on the part of administrators. In static terms, creating a free public service obviously requires more money than a partially subsidized one. But with a firm “this needs to be free” rule in place, administrators are now limited to the amount of money that’s actually been appropriated, and if they want more funds for some new initiative they need to explicitly make the case that it’s valuable. The most decisive reason to like Sanders’s goal of free college, however, didn’t become clear until the campaign itself began. The great thing about free college is that people know what it means and some people are excited about it.” (Vox, 3/10/2016)

BUT YGLESIAS DIGS INTO SANDERS’S FREE COLLEGE PLAN: “It’s worth reading Sanders’s actual plan, since not only is there a lot of nitpicking one could do but there’s also an enormous glaring flaw. …Sanders’s own summary of his College for All Act makes it pretty clear that the act would not, in practice, eliminate college tuition. What it would do instead is offer federal matching funds on a 2-to-1 basis to states that want to increase higher education spending in order to eliminate tuition… There are two relevant things to note here. One is that the 2-1 match for eliminating tuition is much less generous than the 9-1 match offered by the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, yet many states have chosen not to expand Medicaid. The other is that because the College for All Act requires qualifying universities to reduce reliance on low-paid adjunct faculty in addition to eliminating tuition, in practice the federal match is worth even less than 2 to 1… Between the years 2008 and 2015, 47 out of 50 states chose to cut higher education spending. …Put it all together, and what Sanders has is a plan for tuition-free college in Vermont and, if he’s lucky, California, but not for the United States of America.” (Vox, 3/14/2016)

FORMER TRUMP UNIVERSITY STUDENTS SAID THEY WERE PRESSURED INTO GIVING THE PROGRAM POSITIVE REVIEWS: “As Mr. Trump tries to fend off claims of misleading and fraudulent practices … his biggest weapon is what appears to be the overwhelmingly positive reviews from past participants … Interviews and documents show that employees of Trump University at times applied pressure on students to offer favorable reviews, instructed them to fill out the forms in order to obtain their graduation certificates, and ignored standard practices used to ensure that the surveys were filled out objectively…. At the same time, students and their lawyers have raised doubts about Mr. Trump’s claim of 98 percent satisfaction. A website set up to defend Trump University,, has published 10,000 student evaluations, but not all of them were from paying students. They include some from the more than 3,000 free guests that paying participants were encouraged to bring to the classes. More than 2,000 other students never made it to the end of their courses — they sought and received refunds before the end of their classes… In an interview, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, Daniel M. Petrocelli, said the experience of students who felt manipulated ‘is not representative of what happened across the board.’” (The New York Times, 3/11/2016)

MEASURING UP MILLENNIALS: “Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has expanded his double-digit lead among Millennials in the Democratic presidential race, but a new USA TODAY/Rock the Vote poll finds a way for Hillary Clinton to solve her generation gap: Donald Trump. Opposition to Trump nearly unites the rising generation. In a hypothetical Clinton v. Trump contest in November, voters under 35 would choose Clinton by a crushing 52%-19%, a preference that crosses demographic lines. Among whites, she’d be backed by nearly 2-1, 45%-26%. Among Hispanics, by more than 4-1, 61%-14%. Among Asian Americans, by 5-1, 60%-11%. Among African Americans, by 13-1, 67%-5%. And the yawning gender gap she has against Sanders would vanish: Clinton would carry young men and women by almost identical margins of more than 2-1. Nearly one in four Republicans would defect to the Democrats if the GOP nominated Trump against Clinton. Just 7% of Democrats would defect to the GOP… Sanders now leads Clinton among younger voters by 54%-37%, an even bigger advantage than the 11-point edge he held in January’s survey. Millennial women now back Sanders by a jaw-dropping 61%-30% while the divide among Millennial men is much closer, 48%-44%.” (USA Today, 3/15/2016)


OHIO–PORTMAN MEETS WITH ZANE STATE STUDENTS TO PITCH CAREER AND TECH ED BILLS: “Senator Portman toured Zane State’s new Advance Science and Technology Training Center and met with some students and administrators. ‘I was really impressed with what I saw here today at Zane State. I do a lot of work in Washington to try and pass legislation that helps our community colleges and helps to connect our career and technical schools at the high school level through community colleges. There are a lot of jobs out there and unbelievably high unemployment in some areas and yet we have a lot of jobs that are open and part of that reason is the skills gap,’ said Portman. Portman is the author of the ‘Education for Tomorrow’s Workforce Act’ which raises the quality of career and technical education programs at schools in Ohio and across the country. ‘We have two bills that we are working on here right now to get passed. One directly related to what we are seeing here today, because it provides grants from the federal government for shorter-term workforce training programs and skills training. Second we have legislation to try and ensure that the career in technical schools are providing the kind of education that really provides our students with access to immediate jobs,’ said [Portman].” (WHIZ, 2/15/2016)

OHIO–STRICKLAND PREVIEWS HIGHER ED & WORKFORCE PRIORITIES IN DEM PRIMARY DEBATE: “Because higher education is so closely tied to economic opportunity, I also want to make sure these education programs are more affordable and accessible to more Ohioans — we need to allow students to refinance their debt, incentivize the creation of more workforce training courses and apprenticeships, expand Pell Grants and support the Perkins Loans program in order to make college more affordable for working families.” (Cleveland Jewish News, 3/9/2016)

ILLINOIS–DUCKWORTH DROPS CAMPUS CHILD CARE BILL TO HELP STUDENT PARENTS: Earlier this month, “Congresswomen Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Katherine Clark (D-MA) introduced the ‘Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) Improvement Act of 2016.’ CCAMPIS is the only federal program that supports child care services on college campuses for low-income parents, and services are provided year-round… [CCAMPIS] is authorized under the ‘Higher Education Act,’ and… funds about 85 programs annually on a $15 million appropriation. The Duckworth/Clark bill would provide a permanent extension of the program at $67 million annually.” (Child Care Aware, 3/7/2016)

PENNSYLVANIA–SESTAK ON HIGH INTEREST RATE STUDENT LOANS, SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY FOR COSTS: In a recent radio interview, former Admiral Joe Sestak, candidate for the Democratic nomination, lamented the interest rates on federal student loans and called for loans to be pegged to the 30-year Treasury note. Sestak continued that the federal government should consider pulling funds from institutions that fail to control their costs. Check out the full interview here.

WISCONSIN–FEINGOLD CONTINUES TECH ED TOUR, CALLS FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE “AFFORDABLE” AND “VALUABLE FOR EMPLOYERS”: “In northern Wisconsin, many employers say they have job openings, but not enough qualified workers to fill them. Places like Northcentral Technical College in Wausau can help train workers for those jobs. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Russ Feingold learned more about the offerings at NTC during a campaign visit on Thursday. ‘I support this kind of technical education, and it is extremely important to our employers,’ Feingold said. ‘They’re telling me they can’t produce enough people to fill the positions that employers in the area want.’ A year ago, President Obama proposed making two years of community college free for all students. Feingold thinks a plan like that could work. ‘It’s a reasonably affordable thing that is so valuable, not only to the students and their families, but as we learned here at Northcentral, it’s really valuable to the employers,’ Feingold said. ‘We have more need for people than we have.’ Feingold said free college could be paid for, in part, by closing tax loopholes.“ (WJFW, 3/10/2016)

CALIFORNIA–INVESTIGATION BY AG HARRIS LED TO EXPEDITED DEBT RELIEF FOR 85,000 DEFRAUDED CORINTHIAN STUDENTS: “More than 85,000 additional students who attended campuses owned by now-bankrupt Corinthian Colleges Inc. will be eligible for expedited debt relief, federal and state officials announced Tuesday. The announcement will have the biggest impact on California students who attended Corinthian’s Everest College and WyoTech campuses between 2010 and 2013, along with students across the country who attended Everest University online. The move comes as part of a continuing investigation by the U.S. Department of Education and California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris into inflated job placement rates claimed by Corinthian, once among the nation’s largest operators of for-profit colleges.” (Los Angeles Times, 4/9/2015)

HOUSE FY2017 BUDGET CUTS PELL GRANTS: According to the Institute for College Access & Success, yesterday’s newly released House Budget Committee’s FY2017 budget “plan eliminates the scheduled $120 increase in the maximum Pell Grant, holding the maximum award level at $5,815 instead of keeping pace with inflation to rise to $5,935 in the 2017-18 school year, as current law provides. It then freezes the maximum grant for 10 years.  This freeze reduces the share of public four-year college costs covered by the maximum grant from an already record low of 29 percent to 21 percent by 2026.” (TICAS, 3/15/2016)
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A New Era in Healthcare for the Formerly Incarcerated


By: Brittany Claybrooks

Thursday, June 25, 2015, was one for the books. Not only was it the day the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits, which make health insurance more affordable, were upheld by the Supreme Court, but it was also the same day I visited the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center for their annual Community Resource Fair.  It was especially emotional for me; it was the first time I visited inmates that I have not also called mom or dad. But thistime around, I had a whole lot more to offer than a few tears and a handmade greeting card – a ritual that I had become all too familiar with.

More than 10 million people cycle in and out of correctional facilities and more than a quarter of them are younger adults. So it really was no surprise that at least every other person I spoke with was under age 30. The young people I worked with that day were transitioning back into society after serving their time – many were seeking assistance in finding work or job training so that they could build a better life for themselves and their families. Others were seeking help with securing housing, settling up on child support repayment, or probation. What they weren’t expecting to hear was that they could be eligible for affordable health coverage upon their release.

Along with turning 26, graduating from college, moving, changing jobs, and a few other life-changing events, being released from incarceration could enable a person seeking health insurance to enroll any time throughout the year thanks to what is known as a Special Enrollment Period (or SEP).  Upon release, former inmates have 60 days to apply for coverage on or on their state’s health insurance exchange. While this is exciting news, there are still many barriers that recently incarcerated individuals face when affording new coverage.

The sad reality is that those who have “served time” will inevitably face difficulties trying to find a job, making it harder to afford health insurance coverage. For folks who do find a job or participate in Work Release Programs and earn a wage, many might qualify for employer-sponsored coverage or be eligible for lower-cost plans thanks to the ACA’s automatic premium tax credits.

The good news for (many) of our low-income neighbors – like many of those transitioning out of incarceration – the Affordable Care Act has made it possible for people earning under roughly $15,000 a year to qualify for Medicaid, a state administered health program serving those just above or in poverty. And the best part about Medicaid is that individuals have the option of applying prior to being released, meaning they can have health coverage as soon as they are released!

Unfortunately, however, as of right now, 21 states are refusing go along with the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. So what does this mean? All too often, poor residents in these states tend to fall in “the coverage gap,” where a person earns too little to qualify for tax credits, but does not have the option to join Medicaid. These states are essentially choosing to leave some of their poorest residents – a number of whom were formerly incarcerated – without a way to find affordable coverage. States need to accept the Medicaid dollars they are being offered and give the 3.7 million people in “the coverage gap” the financial security they need to build a better life. Ensuring everyone has a chance to get ahead is what this country is supposed to be all about.

Incarceration is often associated with political disenfranchisement, the loss of rights, marginalization, skepticism, and and many other challenges, but the Affordable Care Act has taken steps to remove barriers to economic mobility for former inmates. So, while inmates may worry about what lies on the other side of those heavy doors of incarceration, most can count on access to affordable health care coverage and improved economic security when getting back on their feet. And, that, my friends, is something to come home to.

(For more information, please review YI’s Young Adults In The Criminal Justice System fact sheet and watch the below webinar on healthcare options available to formerly incarcerated young adults.)

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These States Are Making Sure Your Private Health Information Is Actually Private

By Riana King

Magen, a young woman on her parent’s insurance, visited her doctor to get vaccinated for HPV. Magen was relieved; getting the vaccine meant lowering her risk  of becoming one of 20 million Americans who are infected with the virus. Unfortunately, Megan’s peace of mind was short lived — she worried that her parents might find out she had been vaccinated and wouldn’t agree with her decision.

Magen isn’t alone. Millions of dependents on health insurance plans held in another person’s name, such as young adults on their parent’s plan or a partner or spouse’s plan, do not have the same level of privacy as individuals on their own insurance plan.

Policyholders often get notice after anyone on their insurance plan accesses health services, such as STD screenings or mental health care.

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 15 million young adults have become dependents on a parent’s health insurance plan and even more have joined a spouse or partner’s health plans. This represents a huge leap forward in closing the health coverage gap, but many of these new dependents don’t know of a little loophole that is exposing their private health information.

Under consumer protection law, many health insurance companies are required to send confidential health information –such as services you received, with a notice about when –to the policyholder, as part of regular health insurance communications.

This means that as a dependent, your private health information is not really private.

Image from Guttmacher Institute

Currently there are only 10 states that have provisions to protect the confidentiality of individuals insured as dependents. California recently passed the Confidential Health Information Act, allowing dependents to submit a request to have their health information sent directly to them instead of the policyholder.

Colorado, Maryland and Washington state also allow dependents to request confidential communications. New York and Wisconsin dependents don’t have to worry about information about any free services they use being shared, and can have information about other serves they use sent directly to them instead of the policyholder. And in Connecticut, Delaware and Florida, dependent’s STI testing can be kept confidential.

While the remaining 40 states delay making moves to keep dependent’s health information confidential, there are millions of people across the U.S. who are afraid to seek screenings, testing, prescriptions and other sensitive health treatments.

In order to prioritize the health and safety of millions of Americans, states should seriously prioritize the confidentiality of individuals insured as dependents. To find out more about the confidentiality laws in your state, click here.

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Thanks, Obamacare: 5 Ways the ACA is Working for Millennials

By Jessica Adair

Five years ago today, the president signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA and Obamacare, into law. 

Here are five ways the ACA has changed health insurance for “Young Invincibles”:

1) More people have gained access to health coverage. Before the ACA became law, many people were excluded from buying health insurance, either because they couldn’t afford it or were denied coverage due to their health. Since the Affordable Care Act passed, 16.4 million uninsured people have gained health coverage, resulting in a 30% drop in the uninsurance rate — one of the largest declines in decades.

Many people who have gotten covered hail from populations that have historically lacked health insurance coverage. The uninsured rate has dropped by over 9% among African Americans and over 12% among Latinos. Young adults, another group that had suffered from low rates of health coverage, have also seen a spike in coverage. An estimated 5.7 million young adults between the ages of 19 and 25 have gotten covered since the ACA was passed. Since Millennials end up in the emergency room more than any age group except for the elderly, this is a major win for our generation.

5.7million-graphic2) Young adults can now stay covered on a parent’s plan until they turn 26. Before the ACA, young adults were often kicked off of a parent’s plan when they turned 18 or 22 years old. Staying on a parent’s plan is a big help, especially to students, part-time workers and those struggling to find full-time work with benefits. Young adults are still digging out of the economic hole left by the Great Recession, and combating higher unemployment rates than those seen by other age groups. Even those who are employed may not have access to health insurance — a quarter of young adults are working part-time. Staying on a parent’s plan can provide consistent care and great financial relief.

3) We’re saving money on health care. Thanks to tax credits and other subsidies, health insurance is more affordable than ever before. During last year’s Open Enrollment period, 8 in 10 people who enrolled in coverage through paid $100 a month or less for a comprehensive health insurance plan. And all health insurance companies must now spend the majority of health insurance premiums on actual health care, saving consumers billions of dollars.  

More broadly, the ACA helped stem skyrocketing health care spending in the United States. Health insurance companies must compete for consumers on, forcing companies to cut prices — last year, premium costs for Marketplace plans fell an average of 0.2 percent. Even those with health coverage from a job have seen slower growth in the cost of their premiums and most now have a plan that limits out-of pocket expenses.

4) The ACA makes huge steps towards health care equality. Before the ACA, health insurance companies could, and did, discriminate against many populations, including women, people with health conditions and members of the LGBT community

Now, women cannot be charged more than men for health insurance based on gender (how about instead: insurance companies can discriminate based on gender), nor can health insurance companies deny coverage for people with health conditions, such as cancer, asthma or even pregnancy. 

The ACA has also made great strides for the LGBT community. Insurance plans offered through the Marketplace can no longer deny people or charge people a higher price based on gender identity or sexual orientation, and same-sex married couples can receive financial assistance equal to their heterosexual counterparts. 

5) The ACA helps America stay healthy. Most insurance plans offer a wide range of preventive services at no cost to consumers, such as vaccines and screenings for common health conditions. An estimated 76 million Americans are now eligible for these preventive services.

Studies show that young adults are taking advantage of their new coverage. Since the ACA was passed, health care providers have seen “significant increases” of young adults making appointments for routine check ups, blood pressure screenings and other services to make sure their health is in good shape. This, too, is not just good for health, but potentially for cost savings. As the adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Next steps
While the ACA has been the greatest leap for boosting access to health care that we’ve seen in years, we still have much progress to make, particularly when it comes to young adults. Through the ACA, states have the option to expand access to Medicaid, free health coverage for low-income adults.

If all states expanded Medicaid eligibility, over 15 million adults would be able to access health care, over half of whom are under the age of 35. Here at Young Invincibles, we’re building a movement to expand health care access to low-income young adults. Click here to learn more about our work to close the coverage gap!


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