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Young People Get Covered in Big Numbers

By Jen Mishory

Today, the Commonwealth Fund released the findings of its Biennial Health Insurance Survey, showing that a skyrocketing number of young people have gained insurance since the health care reform passed.

While it is clear that 2014 coverage options will be crucial – there are still high numbers of the population who were either uninsured, underinsured, or unprotected from high out-of-pocket costs – young people have already begun to see new reform benefits due to the earlier implementation of the dependent coverage provision.  Specifically, the report stated that:

  • Approximately 3.4 million young adults have gained coverage since the dependent coverage provision took effect.
  • About 79 percent of 19 to 25 year-olds were insured at the time of the survey, up from 69 percent in 2010.
  • The number of people saying they had trouble with medical bills or debt climbed in the past decade, yet stayed statistically the same from 2010 to 2012.  According to Commonwealth, this is likely due to the increased coverage of young adults, since other age cohorts saw either no improvement or deterioration in coverage.

In other words, the ACA’s dependent coverage provision has increased coverage and saved young people from medical bills and medical debt.

The better news? The best is yet to come.  Over half of the potential new Medicaid enrollees are under the age of 35, and millions more will have access to subsidies on new health care marketplaces.  This survey makes clear: when offered good options, young people enroll in insurance.  And the ACA has some really great options coming down the pike.