Until 2011, young adults ages 18–24 were more likely than other adult age groups to be uninsured and, when insured, were the least likely to have private health insurance.23 For young adults, lack of or disruption of health insurance coverage can create barriers to health care and leave young adults vulnerable to high out-of-pocket medical expenses in the event of a serious illness or injury.24 In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law. This law requires insurers to allow parents to keep adult children on their plans until age 26.25
NOTE: Medicaid or other public health insurance includes Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and state-sponsored health plans. A small number of young adults were covered by both Medicaid or other public health insurance and private insurance and are only included in the private insurance coverage group.
SOURCE: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey.
23 National Center for Health Statistics. (2009). Health, United States, 2008, with special feature on the health of young adults. Hyattsville, MD: Author.
24 Collins, S.R., Robertson, R., Garber, T., and Doty, M.M. (2012). Young, uninsured, and in debt: Why young adults lack health insurance and how the Affordable Care Act is helping: Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Tracking Survey of Young Adults, 2011. Issue Brief (Commonw Fund), 14, 1–24.
25 Goldman, T.R. (2013). Health Policy Brief: Young adults and the Affordable Care Act. Health Affairs. Retrieved from http://www.healthaffairs.org/healthpolicybriefs/brief.php?brief_id=105.