| It's going to get harder and harder for opponents of the Affordable Care Act to maintain their resistance in light of the clear and quantifiable impacts the law is already having.
A recent study shows that roughly 6.6 million young adults who have now signed up for health insurance through their parents' plans in the past year as a direct result of the ACA.
According to a new Gallup poll:
"The percentage of 18- to 25-year-old Americans who do not have health insurance fell from 24.5% in the first quarter of 2012 to 23% so far in the second quarter -- reinforcing the general downward trend that began after the healthcare law provision allowing adults up to age 26 to remain on their parents' plans took effect in September 2010."
The provision of the Affordable Care Act responsible for this impact requires insurers to allow young adults to stay on their parents' insurance coverage until they are 26 years old. They don't have to be students, unmarried, financial dependents or living with their parents. As of 2014, they can still be eligible even if they are offered insurance through their own employers. Previously, many insurance companies terminated coverage at age 19, with some (but not all) providing exceptions for students. Clearly, this change is already having a major impact on this age group, many of whom have part-time employment, work for start-ups or are otherwise struggling to find their footing financially.
The news about the higher insurance rates among young adults is especially encouraging in light of a recent finding that "millions of young adults are forgoing necessary care and treatment because of rising health care costs," according to a Commonwealth Fund survey. The study found that 41% of young adults between age 19 and 29 did not get medical care in a recent 12-month period because of the high cost. This includes not filling prescriptions, skipping recommended tests or treatments, avoiding doctor visits and failing to get specialist care they need.
While medical costs may not be dropping, at least the ACA is helping more young people get the insurance coverage they need and the medical care they deserve.