Low and middle income young adults are soon to be at risk if their individual states do not expand state Medicaid programs. A survey by the Common Wealth fund found that, “only 27 percent of young adults were aware of the state health insurance marketplaces that are launching October 1. Moreover, millions of low-income young adults are at risk of remaining uninsured if the states they live in choose not to expand Medicaid.”
The number of uninsured adults have dropped by 2.4 million since 2011, yet there are still a large amount of low and middle income young adults who are still uninsured.
Previously, it was thought that young adults did not want insurance because they didn’t think that they needed it. Now reports show that cost is the contributing factor to the lack of insurance for adults in their twenties. Also, their lack of knowledge regarding state health insurance marketplaces which are launching in October could be problematic.
“There is a stereotype that young adults believe they are 'invincible' and don't want or need health insurance," said Commonwealth Fund vice president Sara Collins, the study's author. "This survey shows that is a myth—a typical uninsured young adult is from a low- or middle-income family and works a low-wage job. In general, young adults value health insurance but cannot afford it."
In 2013 82 percent of the young adults who were insured through subsidized insurance or Medicaid were eligible because of their low or middle income status. Now, they might lose their eligibility based on, “lack of awareness about the marketplaces, or residence in a state that is not planning to expand Medicaid eligible.”
Twenty five states who might not be expanding their Medicaid eligibility could leave millions of young adults without insurance.
"Ensuring that all Americans are able to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act would require that states expand Medicaid and dedicate sufficient resources to educate their populations about the law's new coverage options,” said David Blumenthal, M.D., Commonwealth Fund president.
The survey also found that 63 percent of young adults who registered as Republican were enrolled in a parent’s health plan within the last 12 months; those who were registered as Democratic were 45 percent of the young adult population.
"What it says is this has been a long-term problem for families regardless of their political affiliations," said Collins, "so being able to come onto a parent's policy really did benefit young adults."
An estimated 7.8 million of the 15 million young adults were enrolled in a parent's health plan last year, under the new Affordable Care Act.
Source: Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., Petra W. Rasmussen, M.P.H., Tracy Garber, M.P.H., and Michelle M. Doty, Ph.D. Covering Young Adults Under the Affordable Care Act: The Importance of Outreach and Medicaid Expansion. 2013