New Report: Health Reform Proposals Could Help More Than 13 Million Uninsured Young Adults Gain Coverage

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Comprehensive health reform proposals now before Congress could help bring health coverage to the more than 13 million uninsured young adults, ages 19 to 29, who currently lack it, a <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2009/aug/rite-passage-why-young-adults-become-uninsured-and-how-new">new Commonwealth Fund report</a> finds. For those young adults who now have coverage, the reforms could also help keep them from losing it. <br /><br />Young adults often become uninsured when they graduate from high school or college, or when they turn 19 and are dropped from their parents' policies or become ineligible for public coverage programs. Many also have difficulty finding jobs, particularly those that come with insurance benefits. In 2007, nearly 30 percent of this age group, or 13.2 million, were uninsured—an increase of 2.3 million since 2000, the report finds. With unemployment running particularly high among young adults, even more are likely to be uninsured today. <br /><br />According to <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2009/aug/rite-passage-why-young-adults-become-uninsured-and-how-new">Rite of Passage? Why Young Adults Become Uninsured and How New Policies Can Help, 2009 Update</a>, extending health insurance coverage to all Americans by expanding Medicaid and creating a health insurance exchange that offers a choice of private and public plans with premium subsidies would help guarantee stable, affordable coverage for young adults. <br /><br />"Because young adults face so many transitions—graduation, job changes, and, in this economy, unemployment—they are especially vulnerable to the risks of being uninsured," says Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "Comprehensive health reform would go a long way toward ensuring that young adults have stable, affordable health coverage that will give them access to the care they need, and protect them in the event of a serious illness." <br /><br />Also listen to the latest episode of <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=B40B041419414FF884C419B37F266AD5&_z=z">New Directions in Health Care: The Commonwealth Fund Podcast</a>, where producer Sandy Hausman interviews coauthors Sara Collins, Ph.D., and Jennifer L. Nicholson, M.P.H., of The Commonwealth Fund's Affordable Health Insurance Program, as well as Charles E. Irwin, Jr., M.D, a pediatrician and director of the Division of Adolescent Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. <br />