Impact of State Laws That Extend Eligibility for Parents’ Health Insurance Coverage to Young Adults

This week, Drs. Alex Blum, Lawrence Kleinman, Barbara Starfield, and Joseph Ross published a paper in the journal Pediatrics that suggests that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not only helping millions of young adults get insured – but that insurance means young Americans all across the country are more likely to get the health care they need.
The researchers used U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data before (2002-2004) and after (2008-2009) and examined 3 states that expanded coverage to young adults prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act.  The research showed that compared to 17 states without such laws, young adults in states with laws were more likely to gain their own personal physician, have regular checkups and no longer have to go without needed health care because it cost too much.
The researchers’ findings should inform our understanding of the ACA provision that mandates that private insurance companies make young adults eligible to remain on (or join) their parents’ insurance policy.
This research points out that laws that make young people eligible to join their parents’ health insurance not only allow the future workforce to gain health insurance but, ultimately, health security.