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How the PPACA helps young adults

Posted by Mark Ryan, MD March 25, 2011 at 11:50 PM

As we reach the end of the week in which we celebrate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), I would like to take a moment to review how the law will benefit young adults:

  • The most significant change is that young adults will be able to stay on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26.  This is regardless of whether they are students, employed, married, etc.  No longer will young adults need to take a job they dislike just because they need insurance, and no longer will they face the risks associated with going without coverage: expensive medical bills and long-standing financial problems if they should need care.
  • If you already have a medical problem (or if you should develop one heading forward), you will no longer be subject to lifetime caps on benefits.  So if you have been diagnosed with an illness that requires significant treatment (such as diabetes), you will not lose your insurance coverage simply by reaching an arbitrary limit set by an insurance company.
  • If a young adult chooses to start a small business, the PPACA will provide tax credits for businesses with fewer than 25 employees and under $50,000 average salaries.  This means they could provide insurance for their employees.  Even better: if a young adult works in a small business that meets these criteria, their employer will qualify for these tax credits and will be better able to offer health insurance benefits.
  • If unable to stay on their parents’ insurance or qualify for employer-provided benefits, young adults could opt to buy individual coverage off the health insurance exchanges once they become active in 2014.  These exchanges will offer plans that provide necessary coverage and that are unable to charge excessive fees.
  • Young adults will be able to get necessary preventive care (such as physicals, vaccines, pap smears and woman’s health services) without co-pays in order to make these necessary services available to all.
  • As is the case with the rest of the country, young adults will also benefit from insurance company reforms that prevent insurance companies from revoking coverage if you get sick (knows as rescissions), and that require that between 80-85% of premiums paid to insurance companies are used to provide care.

In 2008, nearly 1/2 of all uninsured Americans were under 30.  The ACA will fix this by allowing young adults access to a number of options to access necessary care.

For more information, please visit the Young Invincibles website, including their clear and concise summary of the benefits the ACA provides young adults.  Young Invincibles’s Getting Covered campaign is a great resource to help young people take advantage of this law’s important new benefits.

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