Living (& Dying) Beyond Your Means
Nearly Half of Young Adults Can't Afford Health Care
If this little fact doesn't encourage a gal to practice safe sex, then we don't know what does: In 2010, 45 percent of young adults (age 19 - 29) couldn't afford to get health care that they needed--they didn't fill a prescription or go to the doctor or get treatment--because of cost. This is a number up from 32 percent of young adults in 2001. (That's an extra 13 percent of people that are not getting rid of all sorts of things...like the Clap, guys).
However, the Affordable Care Act has been helping young adults obtain health insurance, especially the provision passed in 2010 that they could stay on their parents' health insurance until age 26. More than 600,000 young adults have taken advantage of this provision. In 2014, expanded Medicaid coverage and premium subsidies for private plans will go into effect, and provide almost universal coverage for 15 million young adults that are uninsured.
According to The Commonwealth Fund's 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey report, "Realizing Health Reform's Potential: How the Affordable Care Act is Helping Young Adults Stay Covered," 40 percent of young adults have problems paying medical bills; one third of this population had to exhaust savings to pay their bills, and one fifth had to go into credit card debt. Yep, that's what we tell our parents too: "Dad, it wasn't the shoe shopping habit that put me into debt, it was my medical bills."
Meanwhile, 58 percent of uninsured young adults delayed getting care because of cost, as opposed to 34 percent of insured individuals of the same age. Fifty-two percent of uninsured young adults had problems with bills and debt related to medical care, compared to 25 percent of insured young adults. Additionally, young adults coming from low to moderate income families also had a difficult time paying medical bills, in comparison to higher income families.
In 2012, college health plans will have to change to eliminate lifetime coverage limits and rescissions, resulting in increased coverage for 1.6 million young adults under their college health care plans. Now, if colleges would only make student ID cards with no expiration date, we would be golden.
Beginning in 2014, when the Affordable Care Act comes into full effect, young adults will continue to benefit from expanded health care coverage. Beginning in 2014, Medicaid will cover all adults with incomes below $14,404 (for a single person), which will cover 7.2 million uninsured young adults. Additional benefits will include maternity benefits for low and moderate income young adults, and prevent insurance companies from charging higher premiums based on health or gender.
We're stoked that U.S. Healthcare is finally starting to catch up with the rest of the Western World--we just wish they'd move a little faster. There aren't nearly enough True Blood reruns to get us through not being able to leave our houses for the next three years. Thank God for Game of Thrones...
Source: Health reform essential to young adults: Nearly half can't afford needed health care. EurekAlert! Retrieved from http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-05/cf-hre052411.php