Fewer Uninsured Young Adults As a Result of Health Care Reform


A report issued by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) noted a 3.5 percent decline in the number of uninsured young adults following implementation of the health care reform provision requiring dependent children to be covered until age 26. This decline in the uninsured translates to about 716,000 young adults gaining coverage. Before this provision went into effect in 2010, 31.4 percent of young adults were uninsured. 

Although many states had previously enacted similar provisions, the federal provision is broader than most in that it applies without regard to the dependent’s student, marital, or disability status.

The NBER report surmised that as a result of the federal provision for young adults, “family premiums will increase as more young adults are enrolled. In 2014, when the individual coverage mandate takes effect and the limited anti-crowd-out provisions end, the availability of dependent coverage may attract comparatively healthy young adults, leaving non-group plans with higher average risk and premiums.”

In spite of the possible premium increase, ultimately the report concluded that the young adult expansion represents “a rare public policy success in the effort to cover the uninsured.” For more information, click here.