Young adults want health insurance, poll says

08/22/2013 10:30 AM

08/22/2013 4:21 PM

Young adults are less likely to believe they’re “invincible” than the stereotype says, a new report indicates.

The Commonwealth Fund reported this week that two-thirds of Americans ages 19 to 29 signed up for health insurance when benefits were offered through their employers.

Among young adults who didn’t take employer-based coverage, half said they were covered by their parents’ policies.

About one in five of the uninsured said they didn’t have health coverage because they couldn’t afford it.

Only 5 percent said they didn’t have coverage because they didn’t think they needed it.

The Commonwealth Fund survey also found a major lack of understanding about the Affordable Care Act and the online health insurance marketplaces that are due to open this fall. Only 27 percent of young adults were aware of details about this aspect of Obamacare.

The report said about 15 million young adults were enrolled in a parent’s health insurance plan last year. About 7.8 million of them would not have been eligible without the act’s provision that allows them to remain on parents’ plans until age 26.

The number of uninsured young adults dropped to 15.7 million in 2013, down from 18.1 million in 2011, the report said.

Commonwealth Fund said millions of young adults are at risk of staying uninsured if the states they live in don’t expand Medicaid. Missouri and Kansas are among states that so far have chosen not to expand the program that would help cover more young adults.

“Eighty-two percent of young adults who were uninsured for a time in 2013 lived in low- or middle-income households and would be eligible for subsidized insurance through the marketplaces or through Medicaid,” the report said.

The people who could most benefit from this subsidized coverage are the least aware of the act and its provisions, the survey found.

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