According to government data released yesterday, since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allowed those under age 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans, almost 1 million people ages 19-25 have gained access to health insurance. Since the provision went into effect in 2010, the number of young adults who are uninsured decreased from 34 percent to 30 percent, according to the Washington Post.

The government estimates that between 25 and 50 percent young people under 26 are now covered under their parents’ insurance policies. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius stated, “The economic downturn has taken a toll on employment among young adults. In the past, that would have led to even more young people without health insurance. Instead, thanks to the [new law], the number of young adults with coverage has actually gone up.”

Currently under the ACA, daughters and sons under 26 years of age can receive insurance through their parents’ coverage. The donut hole for seniors is closing and certain preventive procedures, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and pap smears, no longer require a co-payment or other direct costs. Under the ACA, private insurance plans beginning on or after August 1, 2012 will also cover an annual well-woman visit and a variety of specific health screenings and counseling, such as for domestic and interpersonal violence, gestational diabetes, cervical cancer (an HPV DNA screening), HIV and STIs, as well as all FDA-approved contraceptives, breastfeeding support, lactation services, and supplies. President Obama signed the final version of the Affordable Care Act in March. The final law will eventually add coverage for 32 million people, increasing access to family planning and preventive care.

Washington Post 9/21/11; New York Times 9/21/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 8/30/11