Rite of Passage? Why Young Adults Become Uninsured and How New Policies Can Help, 2008 Update

May 30, 2008

Authors: Jennifer L. Kriss, Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., Bisundev Mahato, Elise Gould, Ph.D., and Cathy Schoen, M.S.

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Young adult

Overview

Young adults, ages 19 to 29, are one of the largest segments of the U.S. population without health insurance: 13.7 million lacked coverage in 2006. They often lose coverage at age 19 or upon high school or college graduation—almost two of five (38%) high school graduates who do not enroll in college and one-third of college graduates are uninsured for a time during the first year after graduation. Several states have passed laws to expand coverage of dependents up to age 24 or 25 under parents' insurance policies. This policy change, in addition to two others—extending eligibility for public insurance programs beyond age 18 and ensuring that colleges require and offer coverage to full- and part-time students to have coverage—could help uninsured young adults gain coverage and prevent others from losing it. This issue brief, the sixth in a series, updates an earlier version of Rite of Passage.

Citation

J. L. Kriss, S. R. Collins, B. Mahato, E. Gould, and C. Schoen, Rite of Passage? Why Young Adults Become Uninsured and How New Policies Can Help, 2008 Update, The Commonwealth Fund, May 2008.