Even though much of the Affordable Care Act does not go into effect until 2014, conservatives insist the bill is making things worse for Americans. But a new study shows that one implemented provision of the ACA is already providing millions of young Americans with health insurance.
According to a study by the Commonwealth Fund, 6.6 million young adults have signed up for coverage through their parents’ health insurance plans. Under the ACA provision, young people can now stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26. About half of the 19-to-25 year-olds interviewed for the study reported opting in to their parents’ plans between November 2010 and November 2011.
Last month, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan wrote college presidents and student organizations urging them to remind students they can stay on their parents’ plans after graduation. “Now, graduating students are free to make career choices based on what they want to do, not where they can get health insurance,” they wrote.
Some of President Obama’s staunchest critics are also beginning to realize the benefit of increased young people in insurance pools. Republican Senators Scott Brown and Roy Blunt broke ranks to speak approvingly of the provision. Even Tea Party favorite Rep. Allen West signaled his support of the measure in an interview with ThinkProgress.
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll also showed that about 71 percent of Americans view the provision favorably.
Late last year, the government estimated there would be 2.5 million new young adults covered under the provision. The new estimate is higher, in part, because it also includes young people who were previously covered but were able to obtain better, cheaper coverage under the Obamacare provision.
— Steven Perlberg