Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Young Adults Now Have Health Insurance Coverage

The new health reform law (Public Law 111-148) requires that health insurance coverage be available until an individual reaches the age of 26. This provision is very important to young adults with disabilities, given the many transition challenges to meaningful work.

The legal effective date of this availability is September 23, 2010. Many health plans have already implemented the availability. The Department of Health and Human Services resource cited in this blog lists those health plans already implementing this availability.

The law allows young adults up to the age of 26, married or single, to enroll in their parents’ health plan. Beginning in 2014, all U.S. citizens and legal residents will be required to maintain minimum essential health insurance coverage. The parent enrollment option will cease in 2014. There is litigation challenging the legality of the “individual mandate.” For now, young adults can be covered under their parents’ plan.

Young adults between the ages of 19 and 29 represent one of the largest segments of the population that is currently uninsured. Approximately 13.7 million young adults were uninsured in 2008. Of these individuals, 52 percent of the uninsured ages 19 to 29 were under 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Many of these individuals will require premium subsidies, as authorized by the new law.

We recommend two particular resources providing detailed information on this topic:

HHS.gov factsheet:
Young Adults and the Affordable Care Act: Protecting Young Adults and Eliminating Burdens on Families and Business
Commonwealth Fund publication:
Rite of Passage? Why Young Adults Become Uninsured and How New Policy Can Help.