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Expanding quality care coverage to young adults

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will provide more than 21 million young adults between the ages of 19 and 29 - approximately one third of the total uninsured population - with greater access to affordable, quality healthcare. Young adults have the highest rate of injury-related emergency department visits among all age groups and those without insurance are far more likely to be sicker than those with insurance.

The problem young adults face in finding affordable healthcare is linked to critical transition points in their lives: aging off parents' coverage when they graduate from high school or college and losing eligibility for public programs like Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program when they turn 19.

The healthcare law helps deliver better, more affordable care to young adults by:

  • Allowing young adults to stay on their parents' health care plan until age 26, enabling many as 1.2 million previously uninsured young adults to gain coverage.
  • Expanding access to Medicaid for young adults who are unemployed or earning less than $15,000 per year. Almost 8 million uninsured young adults could benefit from this expansion of care.
  • Expanding access to coverage through state health insurance exchanges, a new
  • transparent and competitive insurance marketplace where individuals can buy affordable and qualified health benefit plans.
  • Providing tax credits to help pay for health insurance for young adults with income less than $43,000. Roughly three-quarters of young people ages 19-29 fall in this category and relatively few have employer-sponsored coverage.
  • Ending the worst abuses of insurance companies such as denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition (such as diabetes or asthma), raising rates after people get sick and canceling an existing policy to avoid paying claims.
  • Making it easier to compare health insurance plans online. Each state will have
  • responsibility for creating an exchange where individuals can go to compare affordability and performance of health plans and purchase the plan that works best for them. This new competition should help to reduce prices and improve the quality of insurance plans.