Number of Young Adults with Health Insurance Increases

Around a million 18-25 year-olds gained health insurance between 2010 and 2011 due to a provision in the Affordable Care Act, several reports indicate.

The number of young adults with health insurance increased by around a million between 2010 and 2011, several recently released reports indicate. The increase is apparently due to a provision in the Affordable Care Act allowing children to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26 that took effect for insurance plan renewals beginning September 23, 2010.

Data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) released yesterday show that as of the first quarter of 2011, the percentage of adults between the ages of 19 and 25 with health insurance had increased to 69.6% from 66.1% in 2010. This translates to approximately one million additional young adults with insurance. Over the same period, the rate of insurance for all other age groups essentially remained the same, rising from 85.9% in 2010 to 86.3% in 2011, indicating that the gains in coverage were specific to 19-25 year-olds.

Corroborating the NHIS findings are the results of a Gallup survey, also released Tuesday, indicating that the portion of 18-25 year-olds with insurance increased from 71.0% in the first quarter of 2010 to 75.2% in the first quarter of 2011 and 75.1% in the second quarter. In addition, Census Bureau data released earlier this month found that 500,000 more people aged 18-24 had insurance during 2010 compared with 2009. (The smaller increase than that found by the NHIS is explained by the fact that the Census data does not include those who got insurance in 2011.)

The increase in coverage of young adults comes in spite of higher-than-average levels of unemployment for the age group.


One Million Young Adults Gain Health Insurance in 2011 Because of the Affordable Care Act [HHS Issue Brief]

Overview of the Uninsured in the United States: A Summary of the 2011 Current Population Survey [HHS Issue Brief]

In U.S., Significantly Fewer 18- to 25-Year-Olds Uninsured [Gallup]