How effective has covering young adults on parents’ insurance been?

Young Adult Insurance Coverage And Out-Of-Pocket Spending: Long-Term Patterns

By Marc L. Berk and Zhengyi Fang
Health Affairs, April 2016

From the Abstract

The Affordable Care Act appears to have improved health insurance coverage for young adults (ages 18–30). But data from twenty national surveys conducted between 1977 and 2013 paint a more complex picture, showing coverage rates lower in 2013 than they were thirty-six years earlier.



By Don McCanne, M.D.

Although the provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that allowed individuals up to age 26 to be covered through their parents’ insurance was partially effective, the rate of coverage for young adults was lower in 2013 than it had been 36 years earlier. Some progress!

The point is the ACA is a series of patches superimposed on our highly fragmented, dysfunctional health care financing system. This patch - extending family coverage into early adult years - fell far short of the one goal of insuring all young adults. In fact, all ACA patches combined are falling far short of our goals of universality, affordability and equity, and we are still left with a highly fragmented, dysfunctional health care financing system.

A improved Medicare that covered everyone would fix this.