Young Adults Largest, Fastest Growing Uninsured Population
Young adults between the ages of 19 and 29 are the largest and fastest growing population of uninsured U.S residents, according to a report released Wednesday by the Commonwealth Fund, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports. According to the report, there were 13.7 million young adults without health insurance in 2004, up by 2.5 million since 2000.
Young adults made up 40% of the six million people who became uninsured from 2000 to 2004, according to Sara Collins, a senior program officer at the Commonwealth Fund. In addition, although young adults represent 17% of the population under age 65, they account for 30% of the uninsured nonelderly population, the report says.
Collins said there are several reasons why young adults lack coverage, including that costs may prevent them from signing up for employer-sponsored benefits. According to the Chronicle, 62% of young adults are eligible for employer-sponsored health insurance, compared with 73% of adults ages 30 to 64.
Seventy-three percent of young adults enroll in employer-sponsored insurance plans, compared with 82% of adults aged 30 to 64. The study also finds that teenagers who receive Medicaid or SCHIP are classified as adults the day they turn age 19, meaning they no longer qualify for the programs.
Collins said that some new state regulations increasing the age of dependency for private insurance coverage could help lower the number of uninsured young adults (Agovino, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 5/23).
The report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat reader to view the report.