Young adults aged 19-29 make up the biggest group of uninsured individuals in the United States. While some may think it’s due to the tendency of young people to think they are indestructible, a more realistic reason probably lies in the constriction of the economy. Without as many full time job opportunities, young adults lack the exposure to group plans that other generations have enjoyed, and the income to afford an individual policy.
Children are allowed to stay covered under their parents’ healthcare plan until they turned 18. Young adults who went on to college were usually allowed to remain covered further, until graduation or until they reached age 23, as long as they attended college with the minimum required credits.
Graduation day for this generation is a daunting even with the possession of a fancy rolled up diploma. Often times, there are no jobs, no prospects, and no health insurance should something go wrong. This limbo time between college and gainful employment is an ideal place for young adults to fall between the healthcare system’s cracks. Also, young women at a prime child bearing age cannot even afford the health care costs of a pregnancy nor have the healthcare coverage
Congress passed The Healthcare Reform package in 2010 that allows some young adults to remain on their parents’ healthcare plan should they not be offered coverage by an employer until age 26. This allows many young adults the time to get their bearings under them and find a job with benefits in this waning economy. Young adults under age 26 without the benefit of a parent’s insurance plan are now eligible for what is known as “catastrophic coverage” should an emergency occur.
In addition, starting in 2014, Medicaid will expand to cover anyone who earns an annual income of less than a certain percentage of the poverty level. While this hinders the young adult’s choice of insurance plans, it provides a safety net for young adults who haven’t found jobs or careers and can’t afford to purchase a policy on their own.