Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Money Is Key Barrier to Health Insurance for Young Adults

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Money Is Key Barrier to Health Insurance for Young Adults

Article excerpt

Affordability, not perceived lack of need, is the major barrier to health insurance coverage for many young adults, according to a survey from the Commonwealth Fund.

"There is a stereotype that young adults believe they are invincible' and don't want or need health insurance," Commonwealth Fund vice president Sara Collins, the study's lead author, said at a briefing.

"This survey shows that is a myth. A typical uninsured young adult is from a low- or middle-in-come family and works a low-wage job. In general, young adults value health insurance but cannot afford it."

Smaller percentages of 19-to-25-year-olds are uninsured this year-34% vs. 43% in 2011-mostly because of Affordable Care Act provisions that allow them to stay on their parents' insurance plans until age 26.

However, these young adults have little overall awareness of the health insurance exchanges and options they will offer. At the time of the survey ford it. (March 2013), only 27% of young adults knew health insurance exchanges would open Oct. 1.

The survey, which compared results against a 2011 survey, also found that in states that are not expanding their Medicaid programs, low-income young adults might fall through the coverage cracks.

When offered coverage through an employer, 67% of young adults surveyed said they signed up. Among the third who did not, 36% were covered by their parents' policy, 22% said it was too expensive, 19% were covered by a spouse or partner's insurance, 4% had purchased coverage on their own, and 13% had other reasons. …

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