In 2011, 13.7 million young adults ages 19 to 25 stayed on or joined their parents' health plans, including 6.6 million who would likely not have been able to do so before passage of the Affordable Care Act, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report.
However, not all young adults have parents with health plans they can join, and many still experience gaps in coverage and face medical bill problems and medical debt. Nearly two of five (39%) young adults ages 19 to 29 went without health insurance at some time in 2011, and more than one-third (36%) had medical bill problems or were paying off medical debt. Of those who reported problems with medical bills or debt, many faced serious financial consequences such as using all of their savings (43%), being unable to make student loan or tuition payments (32%), delaying education or career plans (31%), or being unable to pay for necessities such as food, heat, or rent (28%).
The report, Young, Uninsured and in Debt: Why Young Adults Lack Health Insurance and How the Affordable Care Act Is Helping, finds that 13.7 million young adults stayed on or joined their parent's health plans from November 2010 to November 2011, with about half of those likely gaining coverage because of the provision in the Affordable Care Act requiring that health plans that include dependent coverage insure children until age 26.
Young adults in low-income households were most at risk for remaining uninsured. Seventy percent of young adults with incomes under 133 percent of poverty ($14,484 for a single person) had a gap in coverage in 2011, more than three times the rate of those with incomes over 400 percent of poverty ($43,560 for a single person). Only 17 percent of young adults ages 19 in low-income families stayed on or joined their parents' plans, compared with 69 percent of young adults in the highest income households. Young adults over 25 cannot take advantage of the early provision.
"While the Affordable Care Act has already provided a new source of coverage for millions of young adults at risk of being uninsured, more help is needed for those left behind," says Commonwealth Fund Vice President Sara Collins, lead author of the report. "The law's major insurance provisions slated for 2014, including expanded Medicaid and subsidized private plans through state insurance exchanges, will provide nearly all young adults across the income spectrum with affordable and comprehensive health plans."Many Young Adults Accumulate Medical Debt; Delay Getting Needed Care
The amount of medical debt was often substantial. One-quarter of young adults who were paying off medical debt owed $4,000 or more, and 15 percent reported $8,000 or more in debt. Among those with a gap in coverage during the year who were paying off debt, 31 percent had $4,000 or more of medical debt, 21 percent had $8,000 or more, and 11 percent had $10,000 or more.
Regardless of whether they had insurance, many young adults skipped or delayed getting needed health care because of cost. Two of five (41%) young adults said they did not fill a prescription; skipped a medical test, treatment, or follow-up visit recommended by a doctor; did not go to a doctor when sick; or did not get needed specialist care because of cost. Those who were uninsured or who had a gap in coverage were at greatest risk: 60 percent of young adults who were uninsured when surveyed and 56 percent of those who had an insurance gap during the year did not get needed care because of cost, compared with 29 percent of young adults who were insured all year.Without Insurance, Young Adults Lose Contact with Health Care Providers
Timely use of dental care also varied depending on whether young adults had insurance. Young adults who were continuously insured under a plan that included dental coverage had the highest rates of dental care: three-quarters (76%) had had a dental check-up in the past year. Only 54 percent of those who had a gap in their insurance coverage in the past year and just 28 percent of those who were uninsured at the time of the survey had had a dental exam.Affordability a Major Barrier to Health Care for Young Adults
"Clearly, young adults recognize the value of health insurance that provides protection against burdensome medical debt and access to needed health care," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "The Affordable Care Act will provide all Americans with affordable coverage, and help young adults achieve healthy, productive, and financially secure futures."
The report by Commonwealth Fund researchers Sara Collins, Ruth Robertson, Tracy Garber, and Michelle Doty, is the third in a series called Tracking Trends in Health System Performance that The Commonwealth Fund will release over the next several years. Subsequent surveys will revisit the same respondents to track their experiences as the Affordable Care Act is implemented.
This is the third report based on a new series of longitudinal, nationally representative online tracking surveys launched by The Commonwealth Fund this year that will follow randomly selected panels of adults to examine changes in their health insurance coverage and health care as the Affordable Care Act is implemented.
The Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Tracking Survey of Young Adults, 2011, was conducted online between November 4 and November 24, 2011, by Knowledge Networks, among a representative sample of adults ages 19 to 29. The survey sample was drawn from KnowledgePanel—a probability-based online panel that is representative of the U.S. population and includes cell-phone only and low-income households that are typically difficult to reach using traditional telephone surveys and random digit dialing (RDD) sampling.
The survey was completed by 1,863 respondents, yielding a 54 percent completion rate among sampled respondents. Statistical results are weighted to correct for the study's sample design and for survey nonresponse. The sample is representative of the approximately 46.6 million U.S. adults ages 19 to 29. The survey has an overall margin of sampling error of +/– 3 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation supporting independent research on health policy reform and a high performance health system.
Mary Mahon | EurekAlert!
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction