Young adults face tough time getting health insurance

Young adults are facing tough times with limited job prospects and no health insurance. The Associated Press reports on recent college graduate Emily Weinstein as being representative of the many young uninsured Americans: "Like millions of other uninsured adults in their 20s, Weinstein is watching Congress as it advances legislation to overhaul health care.

The recession has deepened young adults' career struggles. It has also sharpened their interest in health insurance. Already the least likely of any age group to have coverage, adults in their 20s face brutal job searches and more time uninsured because of the recession. Nearly 30 percent, 13.2 million, were uninsured in 2007, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based research center. Many young adults work entry-level jobs without insurance and, despite new laws in some states, they're eventually too old to stay on their parents' policies."

The AP cites a "June survey for the Kaiser Family Foundation (that) found young adults don't vary much from their elders in views on health care, said public opinion researcher Mollyann Brodie of Kaiser. But 20-somethings were nearly twice as likely as senior citizens to say they would be 'better off' if President Barack Obama and Congress reformed the health care system. People in their 20s were more likely than senior citizens to say they would be willing to pay more so that more Americans could be insured. The nationally representative random sample of 1,205 adults was conducted by land line and cell phone by Princeton Survey Research Associates. Some features in the health care plans working their way through Congress would benefit young adults. Depending on their income, they could qualify for subsidies on insurance premiums or, for the poorest, expansion of Medicaid. One plan allows them to stay on their parents' policies until age 26. ... Congress is considering extending COBRA eligibility even longer. Already approved are federal subsidies to lower COBRA premiums for some laid-off workers" (Johnson, 7/21).

Meanwhile, The Houston Chronicle/AP offer health insurance tips for young adults: "Get it while you're healthy. Experts say healthy young adults can buy insurance at reasonable rates — and they should. It's tougher if you have a medical condition" (7/21).

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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