Tag Archives: Young Adults

Are Young Adults Heading to the Doctor?

I write about health and health care, but even I’m not immune to the “young and invincible” mentality. My annual dental checkup is more than six months overdue.

A provision of the Affordable Care Act that took effect in 2010 aimed to make it easier for young adults to access preventive care by allowing them to stay on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26. As of 2011, some 3 million young adults gained coverage through this provision.

So does this mean more young people are getting their annual checkups and cholesterol screenings?

Sort of, suggests a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco found that after the provision took effect, the number of young adults using preventive care services went up slightly.

Between 2009 and 2011, there was a 3 percent increase in the number of young people getting routine checkups, and a 5 percent increase in annual dental visits.

But the 18- to 25-year-old group is still avoiding annual flu shots.

Though the improvement is modest, it is encouraging, says Dr. Josephine Lau, an assistant professor of pediatrics at UCSF who led the study. “This study shows us, basically, if we remove the financial barrier, young adults will actually take us up on getting the care that they need.”

The results are based on data from the annual Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services. The researchers only looked at the numbers through 2011, before young adults had the option to get insurance through state and federal exchanges.

“As we start analyzing data from 2012, 2013 and 2014, we will likely see a further uptick in the number of young people getting preventive care,” Lau says.

To read more, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

High Number of Young Adults Signing Up For Health Insurance

The Affordable Care Act’s supporters and detractors have consistently agreed on one thing: the success or failure of the law hinges on the whether young adults, who tend to be healthier and less expensive to insure, enroll. New data released last week shows that more young people are getting health coverage, and in stunning numbers.

New U.S. Census data released last week shows that the number, and rate of young adults, who lack health insurance has fallen significantly since the Affordable Care Act became law in March 2010. An estimated 3.9 million more 18 to 34 year-olds were insured in 2013 than in 2009.

During that same time period, the rate of uninsured young adults has fallen, too, from 28.1 percent in 2009 to 25.2 percent in 2013. In just one year, — between 2012 and 2013 — the number of uninsured 18 to 34 year-olds dropped by over 367,000 people.

The new estimates don’t even include over a million young adults who signed up for health plans on their state’s Health Insurance Marketplace during Open Enrollment. That’s because the Census finished collecting this set of data at the end of 2013.

Open Enrollment started on October 1, 2013, but the vast majority of young adults — 1.7 million of the 2.2 million — signed up on state health exchanges after January 1, 2014. That’s 78 percent of enrollments that we won’t be able to account for until 2014 data gets released next fall.

While we will have to wait for further data to show the Marketplace system’s impact on youth insurance rates, the ACA implemented scores of systemic reforms to our health system that could account for more young adults getting covered. Systemic reforms that were in full effect, include: the provision allowing young adults to stay on a parent’s health plan until the age of 26, small business tax credits that provide health insurance to small business workers, new coverage options for people with pre-existing conditions, and the elimination of lifetime limits on coverage.

To read more, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary