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Rite of Passage: Young Adults and the Affordable Care Act of 2010

Young adults between the ages of 19 and 29 represent one of the largest segments of the uninsured; approximately 13.7 million were uninsured in 2008. The problem is linked to critical transition points in young adults' lives: aging off parents' coverage when they graduate from either high school or college, and losing eligibility for public programs like Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program when they turn 19. Health reform, however, has the potential to cover millions of uninsured young people. This issue brief describes critical provisions in the new law that will help, including the ability to enroll in a parent's health plan up to age 26 beginning in September 2010; significant expansion in eligibility for Medicaid, beginning in 2014; and the creation of state or regional health insurance exchanges with subsidized private insurance for people with low and moderate incomes, also beginning in 2014.

Publication Details



S. R. Collins and J. L. Nicholson, Rite of Passage: Young Adults and the Affordable Care Act of 2010, The Commonwealth Fund, May 2010.