Young Americans Healthier Under Affordable Care Act

Young adults in the United States are now more likely to report they are in good physical and mental health following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new report published in the Journal of the American Medial Association (JAMA).

via Shutterstock
via Shutterstock

Millions of young adults have gotten health insurance under the ACA, which includes a provision that allows individuals to remain covered under their parents’ health insurance plans until they’re 26. The study compared those 19 to 25, who now have the opportunity to be covered by their parents’ plans, with those 26 – 34 who no longer qualify. The results showed young adults are now 7.2 percent more likely to have health insurance, 6.2 percent more likely to report “excellent physical health” and 4 percent more likely to say they are in “excellent mental health.”

“The health insurance that people are gaining seems to be doing what it is supposed to do,” Dr. Kao-Ping Chua, the lead author of the study, told the Los Angeles Times.

This is not the first study to show the number of uninsured young adults in the US, and those who pay out-of-pocket for their insurance, declined greatly after the ACA’s implementation in 2010. However, it is one of the first studies to examine how the ACA has broadly impacted Americans these last four years.

The provision extending coverage for young people is one of the most popular in the ACA. Often, even politicians who oppose the ACA are supportive of the extension provision.

Media Resources: ThinkProgress 6/18/14; Los Angeles Times 6/17/14; Journal of the American Medical Association 6/17/14

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