By Derek Pugh
With the month of June coming to a close, millions of young Americans will soon be faced with the Supreme Court’s decision on whether their health care coverage is considered constitutional or not. Yesterday, HHS announced that 3.1 million young adults have gained insurance coverage by the provision allowing for young adults to stay on their parent’s plan until the age of 26. That’s 3.1 million young adults who need the Justices to do the right thing – and we’ll find out if they do in the next week.
A recent report released by NerdWallet, a data-driven unbiased website that provides quantitative comparisons and analysis of financial products and consumer goods, looked at exactly what this up-to-26 coverage provision means for young adults. The report also estimated the costs associated with an insurance market without the Affordable Care Act options. If the Supreme Court rules that the individual mandate is both unconstitutional and also not severable from the rest of the law, millions of young adults may have to say good-bye to their insurance. This decision comes at a time when youth unemployment is nearly twice the national average and finding affordable coverage pre-ACA was often out of the question.
Indeed, the real question comes down to dollar signs, and NerdWallet shows the big difference. The estimates provided by NerdWallet’s study show that it costs $642 on average to add a dependent to an employer-offered health plan. However, individuals not being able to go on their parents’ health care plan could pay thousands more in premiums on the individual market. On average, individuals would pay $1,490 in premiums, an increase of $906. In other words, the 3.1 million young people on their parent’s plan are saving almost $1,000 a year by staying on a parent’s plan (and for those who would be forced to go uncovered and face out-of-pocket expenses, that savings is even higher). Young women and minorities also save more, since women face higher premiums and minorities are more likely to be unemployed.
In 2014, low-to-moderate income young adults who don’t have access to their parent’s plan will be eligible for subsidies to help them pay that insurance premium. The dire economic climate only amplifies the need and importance for the Affordable Care Act—particularly for the millions of young adults living in the United States.
Tune in to @YI_Care on Twitter the day of the decision, where we will take your questions and discuss the impact of the Court’s ruling on coverage.