Since the new health insurance reform law went into effect in 2010, over a million young adults have been able to get health insurance. The reform bill requires insurance companies to allow adult children to stay on their parent's policies until age 26. US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sibelius called this a "really great achievement." From the Washington Post:
“The economic downturn has taken a toll on employment among young adults,” Sebelius said during a conference call with news media. “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.”
Given that young adults are the age group most likely to go without health insurance, this really is good news. These comments from a student directly affected get right to the heart of the matter:
For Luis Silva,the provision means having peace of mind as he pursues a law degree. The 23-year-old University of South Florida senior said he would have been forced to go without insurance if the law had not enabled him to keep coverage through his mother, a bank worker.
“Money is really tight,” he said. “I’m putting myself through college, already working a part-time job, literally living on ramen. . . . If it was anything more than $20 a month, I would not be able to afford it.”
That was a scary prospect for Silva, whose father owes $50,000 in medical bills he incurred after getting into a trucking accident while uninsured.
This provision in the health insurance reform bill allows students like Luis Silva and his family to have one less thing to worry about in this economy.
Polls show, repeatedly, that most people don't know what is actually in the health insurance reform bill, or how it will affect them. In a country where over 50 million are uninsured, adding a million young adults to the ranks of the insured may not seem like a big deal, but for every one of those families, it's a big success.
cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org