ACA: More Young Adults Now Have Health Insurance Coverage


For over 50 years, the U.S. Census Bureau has been the data collection agent for the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).  The NHIS has monitored the health of the nation since 1957. NHIS data on a broad range of health topics are collected through personal household interviews. And, results from those surveys have been instrumental in providing data to track health status, health care access, and progress toward achieving national health objectives.

Lack of health insurance coverage negatively affects both access to health care and health status.  But, based on the data from the 2011 NHIA, among adults aged 19–25, more are now insured since implementation of “Obamacare.”  The survey shows that the number of people in this age range dropped from 41.7% to only 36.1%.

Overall, in 2011, the number of uninsured Americans fell for the first time in four years.  A provision of the ACA is likely the overwhelming contributor to the increased private health insurance coverage among young adults.  Under the ACA, adult children are now able to obtain coverage through their parents’ health insurance plans up to their 26th birthday.  This ACA provision marks an important shift from prior rules, which typically prevented young adults from being able to be covered by their parents’ health plans once they turned 19 or graduated from college.

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