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June 20, 2012
More than 3 million young adults have gained insurance coverage under the health law, according to the latest government estimate. Obama administration officials touted the benefit Tuesday as an example of how the law is making a difference. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on its fate this month.
“3.1 million [young adults] now have valuable protections for their finances and their health, and only the law can guarantee those protections,” said Richard Kronick, a deputy assistant secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services. In recent weeks, several insurers made public commitments to maintain under-26 coverage, regardless of the Supreme Court’s health law decision.
Beginning in September 2010, the law required insurers to cover dependents under the age of 26, allowing many children to stay on their parents’ health plans if they didn’t have coverage available through an employer.
Tuesday’s report from the National Center for Health Statistics finds that the percentage of covered adults age 19 to 25 increased from 64.4 percent in September 2010 to 74.8 percent in December 2011. This 10 percentage-point jump in 15 months translates to about 3.1 million young adults gaining coverage, according to an HHS analysis.
“That kind of response in a short period of time is unprecedented,” Kronick said.
Previously, HHS estimated that 2.5 million young adults gained coverage through June 2011. And last week, the Commonwealth Fund estimated that roughly 6.6 million gained health insurance between November 2010 and November 2011.
The latter number, however, is based on a survey which asked whether young adults joined a parent’s plan. The federal survey instead asked whether they had coverage at the time, so it does not include the many young adults who were already insured and then switched to a parent’s plan.
“Gains in coverage were particularly large for young men,” the HHS report also notes. Coverage went up more than 14 points for men age 19 to 25.
According to Sara Collins, a vice president of the Commonwealth Fund, the data shows that young men have been incorrectly stereotyped as not wanting or seeking health care. “If they have affordable insurance options available, they’ll take advantage of them,” Collins added. Young women continue to lead in insurance coverage, 77.5 versus 72.0 percent for young men.
Anticipating the Supreme Court's ruling
→ Supreme Court to rule Thursday on health care reform
→ New consumer protections depend on high court's ruling
→ Court challenge could result in Medicaid cutbacks instead of expansion
→ GOP promises smaller-scale health care agenda if court strikes down law
→ Some health system changes will stay, no matter how Supreme Court rules
→ Obama administration finds 3.1M young adults gained coverage under law
→ What's at stake for Medicare beneficiaries in health reform ruling
→ What's at stake for women if health law overturned
→ Washburn law professor holding to prediction that health reform law will be upheld
→ Even without the individual mandate, health law would still affect millions
The Great Health Reform Debate: Kansas experts weigh in
"The system we have in this country is a failure because people do not have equal access to care," said retired Stormont-Vail HealthCare CEO Maynard Oliverius. He is one of six Kansas experts who weigh in on the health reform debate ahead of the Supreme Court's ruling on the law.
→ Watch the six video shorts here.
Oral arguments before the Supreme Court
Day 1 — Anti-Injunction Act
→ Guide to what happened at the Supreme Court
Day 2 — Individual Mandate
→ Kansas AG Schmidt encouraged by justices' skepticism of health reform law
→ Justices grill Obama administration on health law
→ National media round-up
Day 3 — Medicaid Expansion and Severability
→ Vigorous severability, Medicaid questions
Preview to the Supreme Court oral arguments
→ Schmidt’s pledge to join ACA challenge bolstered candidacy
→ Full interview: Derek Schmidt on the legal challenge of the health reform law
→ The Health Law and the Supreme Court: A primer for the upcoming oral arguments
→ Video explainer: The health care reform challenge before the Supreme Court
→ Kansas rejects $31.5 million for insurance exchange
→ More archived stories and in-depth information on the Affordable Care Act
The KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute and is committed to timely, objective and in-depth coverage of health issues and the policy making environment. Find more about the News Service at khi.org/newsservice or contact us at (785) 783-2529.