Young, Uninsured, and Seeking Change

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<p>An overwhelming majority of young adults—the largest uninsured age-group in the country—think it is important for Congress to pass health reform legislation that would ensure affordable health insurance for all and improve health care, according to the results of a 2009 <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2009/dec/young-uninsured-and-seeking-change-health-coverage-young-adults">Commonwealth Fund survey</a> released today.</p>
<p>The new analysis, from the Fund's Jennifer Nicholson and Sara Collins, Ph.D., finds that almost half of young adults, or approximately 20 million people between the ages of 19 and 29, are without insurance at some time during the year. As young adults hit milestones like high school or college graduation, they face loss of coverage as they are dropped from their parents' plans or from public insurance programs. In the current economic climate, young adults are less likely to find jobs and, when they do, are frequently offered positions that don’t have benefits.</p>
<p>But provisions in the congressional health reform bills—such as expanding Medicaid eligibility, creating a health insurance exchange with premium subsidies, and requiring insurers and employers to allow young adults to remain on parents' plans up to age 26 or 27—could help young adults obtain and keep affordable, comprehensive coverage through transitions from school to work and from job to job. </p>
<p>"It is not surprising that a large majority of young adults support health reform," said Commonwealth Fund Vice President and report coauthor Sara Collins. "As a group their health insurance situation is unstable and they are at risk of going without needed care and incurring medical debt if they become sick or are injured. Young adults stand to benefit significantly from reforms that make health insurance more affordable and protective." <br /></p>