Over the past several months I’ve had conversations with young adults in their 20s and under the age of 26 who do not have health insurance – some of them worked but did not get coverage, others were putting themselves through college and said the plans offered to them were expensive and didn’t cover enough to make it worthwhile. Like all uninsured and under-insured Americans they worry about getting sick and what would happen if it was serious. When I asked if they had a clinic or if they knew a primary care provider they could call on for care they said no. Not one of them have seen a dentist for a couple of years – can’t afford it.
The Affordable Care Act, the comprehensive health care reform law enacted in March 2010 included a provision that extended young adult coverage on their parents or legal guardian’s plans – in other words if your health insurance plan covers children, you can now add or keep your children on your health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old.
When I asked these young adults if they were able to get on their parents plans they all said no. Too expensive to be added, their parents were uninsured or they were not in a position to ask their parents.
Here is a good site with frequently asked questions and answers about this young adult provision. What can we offer these young people? The more we know about prevention and risk they need access to services too.