New Health Care Law Helps More than 3 Million Young Adults Get and Keep Health Coverage

Press Release

By:  Kathleen Sebelius
Date: June 19, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

A new report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shows that 3.1 million young adults have gained health insurance because of the health care law. Without the health care law -- the Affordable Care Act -- these 3.1 million young adults would not have health insurance. As a result of the law, the proportion of insured adults ages 19 through 25 has increased to nearly 75 percent.

The Affordable Care Act requires insurers to allow young adults to remain on their parents' family plans until their 26th birthday, even if they move away from home or graduate from school. This policy took effect on September 23, 2010.

"Today, because of the health care law, more than 3 million more young adults have health insurance," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "This policy doesn't just give young adults and their families peace of mind, it also gives them freedom. It means that as they begin their careers, they will be free to make choices based on what they want to do, not on where they can get health insurance."

Before the Affordable Care Act, young adults were the age group least likely to have health insurance. Not only were young adults more likely to be uninsured, they were also more than twice as likely as older adults to lose private insurance coverage once they had it. Some young adults lost coverage when they became too old to qualify as a dependent on their parents' plans, and others lost coverage as they graduated from school or changed jobs.

A similar report released in December 2011 showed that 2.5 million young adults who would otherwise have been uninsured had gained coverage through June 2011. Using the most recent information on insurance coverage from the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, today's report finds that from September 2010 to December 2011 the percentage of adults ages 19 through 25 with insurance coverage increased from 64.4 percent to 74.8 percent. That translates to 3.1 million young adults with coverage. This increase continues the steady upward trend in insurance coverage among young adults since the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

Starting in 2014, there will be even more health coverage options available to young adults when Affordable Insurance Exchanges, premium tax credits, and the Medicaid expansion go into effect.

To see the new HHS report, please visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/aspe/gaininginsurance/rb.shtml

To see the National Center for Health Statistics Report, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/

To learn more about young adults, like Ashley Drew, who are helped by the under 26 provision, please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/blog/2012/06/mycare_ashley.html

To see a fact sheet about insurance increases for young adults in your state, please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/06/young-adults06192012a.html