At least 2.5 million younger Americans now have health insurance as a result of a provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows adults to stay on their parents’ health care plans until 26 years of age, the Associated Press reports. The Obama administration is expected to release additional data later this afternoon:
Using unpublished quarterly statistics from the government’s ongoing National Health Interview Survey, analysts in Sebelius’ policy office determined that nearly 36 percent of those age 19-25 were uninsured in the third calendar quarter of 2010, before the law’s provision took effect. That translates to more than 10.5 million people.
By the second calendar quarter of 2011, the proportion of uninsured young adults had dropped to a little over 27 percent, or about 8 million people. The difference — nearly 2.5 million getting coverage — can only be the result of the health care law, administration officials said, because the number covered by public programs like Medicaid went down slightly. Overall, nearly 30 million Americans are between the ages of 19 to 25. For those who are little older, ages 26-35, the uninsured rate went up during the same period. “From September 2010 to June 2011, coverage rose only among those adults affect by the policy,” said the HHS report.
Incidentally, while Republicans are seeking to repeal the whole of the Affordable Care Act — including this provision — some support the dependent policy. The GOP’s 2009 alternative health care plan would have allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until age 25 and current presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich has claimed, “That particular piece there is nothing wrong with. I didn’t say there is anything wrong with that.” More conservative members like Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Jack Kingston (R-GA) have vocally opposed the provision, however, arguing that it undermines young people’s independence.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million more young adults don’t have to live with the fear and uncertainty of going without health insurance,” said Sebelius. “Moms and dads around the country can breathe a little easier knowing their children are covered.”