What Does the Overhauling of Health Care Mean for Young People?

By Jorge Rivas Nov 10, 2009

Youth Outlook, a journal that chronicles the world through the eyes and voice of young people, has an interesting take on the current health care debate. So, what does the overhauling of health care mean for young people? According to Emily Beaver at Youth Outlook, "a lot."

"Young adults ages 19 to 29 are the age group most likely to be uninsured. About 30 percent of 19- to 29-year-olds (about 13.2 million people) are uninsured, the highest rate of any age group. Young adults often have low incomes, which makes health insurance hard to afford, and they usually do not qualify for insurance through the Medicaid government health insurance program. Many young adults are dropped from their parents’ health insurance plans in their late teens or early 20s. The Affordable Health Care for America Act would allow young people to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 27.  Even though young people are generally healthy, about 15 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 have chronic health conditions like asthma or diabetes. Young adults are also more likely to go to the emergency room for injuries than other age groups. Currently, young adults without children generally don’t qualify for Medicaid. However, the House Bill would let low-income young people without their own kids get health insurance through Medicaid.

Young adults are also  less likely to be offered health insurance at work than older adults and are less likely to accept health insurance when it is offered. The House bill creates an individual mandate, which means all young people would be required to have health insurance. Under the bill, young people who don’t get health insurance from an employer, a parent, a government health insurance program like Medicare or Medicaid, or an individual insurance plan would be able to buy a health insurance plan through a national health insurance exchange. People could buy private health insurance plans or a public health insurance plan through the exchange."