Affordable Care Act Now Serving 6.6 Million Young Americans


Written by Doug Lavey

More than 6 million young Americans are now covered under their parents’ health insurance plans thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

Prior to the legislation’s passage, health insurance companies could remove children enrolled in a family coverage plan as early as age 19. Now, thanks to an important provision in the ACA, insurers are required to make coverage available to dependents until the age of 26.

Just a year and a half since Congress passed the act, Americans are beginning to see the extent to which this provision is helping keep young adults covered and aiding millions of families across the country.

A recent report by the Commonwealth Fund indicates that, in 2011, 13.7 million young Americans (19-25) were able to remain on or join their parents’ health plans. According to the study, 6.6 million of those “would likely not have been able to do so before” the ACA.

This new data reinforces statements made by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan last month in a letter to various university presidents and student organizations.

“Now, graduating students are free to make career choices based on what they want to do,” they noted, “not where they can get health insurance.”

The latest figures represent a steep increase from the 2.5 million young adults who were reportedly taking advantage of this provision just six months ago. This spike in coverage among young adults is a strong indicator that, despite public perception of their “invincibility,” young people also need health care coverage.

But there are still millions who have been left in a dearth of non-coverage.

“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,” Commonwealth Fund Vice President Sara Collins said.

Those left behind include 39 percent of young adults aged 19 to 29 who went without health insurance at some point in 2011 and the 36 percent who struggle to pay for medical treatments or are slipping further into medical debt. One of the Affordable Care Act’s major insurance provisions—to expand Medicaid and subsidize private plans—will take effect in 2014 and help many uninsured young adults. This provision, as Collins noted in the report, “will provide nearly all young adults across the income spectrum with affordable and comprehensive health plans.”

Since its passage, young adults have been more likely to support the ACA than other age groups. Forty-two percent of those 18 to 29 said they would be against repealing the act, compared with only 28 percent who argued in favor of repeal, according to a poll conducted by the Washington Post in May.

The 42 percent approval rating represents the second highest among the age groups polled, second only to seniors 65 and older. Unfortunately, a poll by the Kaiser Foundation conducted in March suggests that only 47 percent of all Americans—and 55 percent of those under age 30—are even aware of how the law has helped young Americans stay under their parents’ plans.

This post was originally published by Campus Progress.


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Photo: A Richmond native, Liz Bartenstein had been burned badly during an accident shortly after she graduated college, and racked up tens of thousands of dollars in emergency room bills. At the time, she was too old to be insured under her parents’ plan (a few months before passage of the Affordable Care Act), and did not qualify to be insured by her employer – a small nonprofit at the time. (Flickr / Leader Nancy Pelosi)


Doug Gledhill
Doug G5 years ago

Obama was going to contain cost in health care, hasn't happened. People are still being screwed by insurance companies for having pre existing conditions and they will continue to do so until 2014 and probably beyond. Given the length and extent of the health care problem in this nation, this law is a drop in the bucket. A token gesture that does very little overall.
Rommel is even more in their pocket, so again we the people come up empty.
Can't the voters demand and get better?

Wesley Struebing
Wesley Struebing5 years ago

Oh, dear. Past member (or whoever is passing for it today) must be off its meds again...

June Lacy
June Lacy5 years ago

you should read page 1069 of obamacare..............

Diana Bair
Diana Bair5 years ago

Republicians accepted when it was Romney care!!!!!!!!!!. the republicians want to repeal because they are so against Obama helping the people who need it!!!!!. republicians do NOT care about the americian people they would rather destroy america than do their JOBS!!!!!!!!!!. And we are their JOBS not the ............RICH Or CORPORATIONS, I can NOT understand how people could vote for someone that is against the PERSON voting for THEM????!!!!. I keep telling people these are NOT the republicians they voted for will ANYONE............LISTEN?????????. Go back past abe lincoln!!!!!!!, up to reagan, old man bush even bushy jr. was not like this NEW breed, these republicians should change their name THEY ARE NOT REPUBLICIANS!!!!!!!!!!!. Flordia that nut purging legal voters just so, these SO CALLED PHONY "republicians" can win, has this EVER happened this BAD before???????............NO, This is NOT gop, face it. vote them out DO NOT vote any more in!!!!!!!!, I AM going STRAIGHT democrat. Diana.

Adam S.
Adam S5 years ago

I love it when governmment pretends to know better than the private market.

Steve R.
Steve R5 years ago

And how about the 47 million Americans on Medicare whose benefits will be reduced to pay for this monstrosity?

The CBO has already said it will cost at least double what was already estimated, yet brainless bleeding heart liberals still try to make us think it's sooooo wonderful!!!

6.6 million young Americans that are more capable of finding work and buying their own health insurance than 47 million retired Americans no longer capable of working....!!!!! What's wrong with that logic?

And don't tell me it's so difficult for them to find work. Your wonderful spender-in-chief keeps trumpeting how he's created 4.2 million new jobs....

Unless of course he's lying - and ignoring the number of jobs that have been LOST due to his failed policies!

"Affordable Health Care Act" my ass!

Carole L.
Carole L5 years ago

Sue J
“The Affordable Healthcare Act was almost a carbon copy of what the Republicans wanted when Clinton tried to pass healthcare.”

Precisely Sue, and when Hillary introduced the bill it was the ReBloodicans who demanded the “mandate”, as well as demanding a “mandate” in the current Affordable Healthcare Act. And now they’re calling it “unconstitutional’.

the ReBloodicans remind of those bullies who play 'keep away', teasing someone by dangling their shoes, backpack etc waiting for the person to grab for their possessions, then they jerk it away. they got everything they demanded and now they're re-nigging on what they said they'd give. we need to recycle the ReBloodican party.

Viir Exeter
Viir E5 years ago

More than 6 million young Americans are now covered under their parents’ health insurance plans thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Correction. Thanks to PRESIDENT OBAMA.


Troy G.
Troy Grant5 years ago

Do young Americans know that this is all Obama could get past conservative obstructionists without losing the Big Money funding that determines election outcomes?

Felicia S.
Phyllis S5 years ago

I think the idoits that want to see this repealed have not READ it!!! Yes I wanted SINGLE PAYER>>> OBAMA 's actions allowed my daughter, 19 with a pre exisiting condition to get a needed surgery that we would have been denied and my daughter would be suffering at this very moment. This healthcare act is start- let's push it further FORWARD ! OBAMA helped me and MY FAMILY