Healthcare reform covers millions of young people



Affordable Care Act allows parents to insure children through age 26




By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer


Starting at age 18, young adults are more likely than older adults to lack health insurance coverage, and men are more likely than women to lack health insurance as well.

“These are persons who graduate from high school or [are] attending college,” says U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. However, since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010, parents now are able to keep their children on their health policies until they turn age 26.

“Young adults were twice more likely not to have health insurance than older adults before this law was passed [in 2010],” noted Sebelius.

According to, a federal government website managed by the HHS, an estimated 16,000 young adults in Minnesota now have health coverage because of the new provision that came into effect in September 2010.

Sebelius told reporters (including the MSR, during a December 14 conference call) that from September 2010 to June 2011, the percentage of adults 19-25 with insurance coverage increased from 64 percent to 73 percent.

“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,” noted Sebelius. “Moms and dads around the country can breathe a little easier knowing their children are covered.”

Melvin Tennant, a metro-area resident whose youngest daughter graduated from college last summer, says he’s glad that the provision is in place. “The ability to have her on my company health insurance plan…is particularly important to our family since she lives in another state,” he points out. “Though she has graduated from college, it gives me a sense of comfort in knowing she has medical coverage.”

The HHS secretary also referred to data from the first three months of 2011 that showed that one million more young adults had insurance coverage compared to a year ago, and this included students who graduated from high school and college last spring who otherwise would have lost coverage if the healthcare law was not in place.

HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Sherry Giled also told reporters, “The Affordable Care Act has helped literally millions of young adults get the health insurance they need to so they can begin their careers with the peace of mind that they’re covered.”

Additionally, a 2011 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) showed that the percentage of uninsured adults ages 19-25 decreased three percent from 24.1 percent in 2010 to 21.1 percent in the first six months of 2011.

When later asked for a breakdown by race and ethnicity, especially young Blacks age 19-25, Sebelius said there wasn’t any such data available at this time. “We’ve already seen how much [the ACA] has helped among people of color, who have a higher [uninsured] rate,” she said.


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