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13.7 Million Young Adults Could Benefit from Healthcare Reform

Modern Healthcare is reporting this morning on the results of a new report published by the Commonwealth Fund, which says that up to 13.7 million young adults who are currently without insurance could qualify for coverage under several provisions of the healthcare reform law, thus alleviating medical debt for this age group.

Beginning this September, health insurers are required to extend dependent coverage to people up to the age of 26, for all group and individual policies. According to the Commonwealth Fund, this provision could cover 1.2 million young adults next year, of whom 650,000 are currently uninsured, and 550,000 have individual coverage. Some insurers have already begun extending this benefit.

Another provision, expanded Medicaid eligibility, which will begin in 2014 under the new law, could insure up to 7.1 million young adults currently without coverage. In the same year, insurance exchanges and premium subsidies could help even more young adults get insurance, while an end to the practice of gender rating could help young women gain affordable coverage.

Sara Collins, vice president for affordable health insurance for the Commonwealth Fund, said, “The affordability issue is significant for this age group.”

Last year, roughly 76% of young adults without insurance went without needed medical care because of costs, and 60% of them had trouble paying medical bills, according to a phone survey conducted nationwide by the Commonwealth Fund last May and June.

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