The Department of Health and Human Services is trumpeting new survey results showing a huge increase in the number of young adults with health insurance as sign that the Affordable Care Act has been a success.
According to a survey conducted by the National centre for Health Statistics, nearly one million adults under the age of 26 gained health insurance in 2011. As a result, the percentage of adults between the ages of 19 and 25 with health insurance rose from 66.1% in 2010 to 69.6 this year.
One of the major provisions of the ACA allowed young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance program until age 26. That provision went into effect last September.
“Overall, these three national surveys show a consistent pattern of expanded health coverage among young adults due to the Affordable Care Act.” a DHS statement said. “While it is theoretically possible that the increase in insurance coverage for young adults in 2011 is due to some factor other than the Affordable Care Act, it is hard to identify a plausible alternative explanation for the increase in coverage among young adults.”
The statement also noted that while the percentage of young adults with health insurance increased over the past few years, the percentage adults over the age 26 with health insurance actually decreased over the same period. That finding came despite the fact that unemployment among young adults has risen faster than it has among older age groups.
“Given the toll the recession has taken on employment among young adults, we would expect that insurance rates would, if anything, have decreased in this group compared to older adults,” the DHS release states. “This observation bolsters the conclusion that the increase in coverage among young adults is a result of the Affordable Care Act.”
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