Today, the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data illustrating that the Affordable Care Act continues to significantly increase the number of young adults who have health insurance.
Because of the health care law, young adults can stay on their parents' insurance plans through age 26. This policy took effect in September 2010. Data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) shows that since September 2010, the percentage of adults aged 19-25 covered by a private health insurance plan increased significantly, with approximately 2.5 million more young adults with insurance coverage compared to the number of young adults who would have been insured without the law.
In the South States (Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas), this equates to about 900,000 more young adults with insurance because of the law.
What this means is that young adults like Danni McConnell can stay on her parents’ health insurance plan. Danni will be graduating from Bowling Green State University this May and does not currently have any job prospects that offer good pay and good benefits. While this is troubling her for a variety of financial reasons, one reason she is not concerned is that she has the option to stay on her parent's health insurance until she is 26. This option removes yet another hurdle from the already difficult task of getting started on her own and allows Danni to know that she is covered if anything bad happens to her.
It is also a win for her parents. They have the peace of mind knowing that if Danni needs to go to a doctor or ER, she can without “breaking the bank.” After graduation, Danni plans to go out of state to pursue a graduate degree. While this is a lot of uncertainty for anyone to face, she at least knows that she will have medical coverage wherever she decides to go and can pursue her dreams without worrying about healthcare restraints.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million more young adults don’t have to live with the fear and uncertainty of going without health insurance,” said Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Moms and dads around the country can breathe a little easier knowing their children are covered.”
Data from the first three months of 2011 showed that one million more young adults had insurance coverage compared to a year ago. The numbers announced today show a continuation of the coverage gains due to the health care law as students graduate from high school and college in May and June and otherwise would have lost coverage.
The data released today are consistent with estimates from surveys released earlier in the year. Those surveys have shown an increase in the number and percentage of young adults 19 to 25 with health insurance coverage. Specifically, the Census Bureau and the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index Survey, as well as the NHIS release of data through March 2011, reported similar trends through early 2011.
Today’s results, highlighted in an HHS issue brief, show that the initial gains from the health care law have continued to grow.
“The data announced today show that, because of the health care law, there is a continued and consistent pattern of improved health coverage among young adults,” said Sherry Glied, Ph.D., HHS assistant secretary for planning and evaluation. “The Affordable Care Act has helped literally millions of young adults get the health insurance they need so they can begin their careers with the peace of mind that they’re covered.”