13.7 Million Lack Health Insurance Coverage

Young adults often lose coverage at age 19, as a result of being dropped from parents’ policies or from public programs like Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Young adults from low-income households are most at risk.

72 percent of the 13.7 million uninsured young adults live in households with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level. As a result of young adults aging off parents’ policies or public programs, the uninsured rate jumps sharply after age 19, from 12 percent among children 18 and under to 30 percent among those ages 19 to 29.

A report found that two-thirds of young adults who had a time without insurance coverage in the past year had gone without needed health care because of cost. One-half reported problems paying medical bills or were paying off medical debt over time.

Nearly 60 percent of employers who offer coverage do not insure dependent children over age 18 or 19 if they do not attend college. Thirty-nine percent of young adults ages 19 to 23 who either do not attend college or only attend part-time are uninsured, compared with 17 percent of full-time students.

Because a majority of uninsured young adults have low incomes, extending eligibility for Medicaid and SCHIP beyond age 18 would also be an important policy solution for covering this group, the authors say. Such an expansion would have the biggest impact in terms of lowering the number of uninsured young adults. Extending eligibility to age 25, for example, would cover up to 7.6 million uninsured young adults living in households with incomes below 200 percent of poverty.

MEDICA.de; Source: Commonwealth Fund