One of the first provisions of President Obama's Affordable Care Act to take effect allowed young adults between the ages of 19 and 25 to stay on their parents' private health insurance plans until they turned 26. A new study by researchers from the nonprofit research organization, the RAND Corporation, found that they are indeed taking advantage of that provision.

The researchers examined over 480,000 emergency room visits from almost 400 hospitals throughout the United States in-between 2009 and 2011, and found that when compared to a group of adults aged 26 to 31, more than 22,000 young adults visited the emergency room, according to CBS News. It amounted to a three percent increase in health insurance coverage rates for young adults who needed emergency care. Also, they only examined serious illnesses and injuries that would cause a person to visit an emergency room whether or not they had insurance.

"The change allowing young people to remain on their parents' medical insurance is protecting young adults and their families from the significant financial risk posed by emergency medical care," Andrew Mulcahy, a health policy researcher at RAND, said in a press release. "Hospitals are benefiting too, because they are treating fewer uninsured young people for emergency ailments."

He also pointed out that looking at the most serious injuries and illnesses allowed them to rule out the influence of insurance, which meant that they could be underestimating "the full financial benefits that the new rules have provided to young adults who need urgent medical care."

A study from September 2011 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics found that the number of uninsured Americans aged 19 to 25 had dropped from 10 million to 9.1 million — a drastic change for the first year after Obamacare was passed.

From a financial perspective, the emergency care provided cost private insurance companies $147 million, according to Kaiser Health News.

"That's exactly what the law intended," Marian Mulkey, director of Health Reform and Public Programs Initiative at the non-partisan California HealthCare Foundation, told Kaiser.

The costs were spread elsewhere, Mulkey added.

"The cost of covering those people was spread over all the people with similar coverage who paid a little bit more in their premiums," she said.

However, premiums are likely to remain low, since young adults consume much less healthcare, which will ultimately balance out the higher medical bills of their parents or grandparents.

Joseph Antos, a health care policy expert at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, said one of the goals of the health law was to reduce the amount of unpaid hospital bills, adding that the goal might be met when enrollment in the insurance marketplaces opens in the fall, while more young adults continue to sign up under their parents' insurance.

"Then I think we'll be successful in reducing uncompensated care," Antos told Kaiser. "In other words, more of those services will be paid fully, and more of those services will be paid at a higher rate than they were before."

RAND's study will be published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Source: Mulcahy A, Harris K, Finegold K, et al. Insurance Coverage of Emergency Care for Young Adults under Health Reform. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2013.