AP: 2.5 million young adults gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act

President Barack Obama (Pic by The White House, via Flickr)

According to new information, a provision in the Affordable Care Act has helped 2.5 million young adults gain health insurance since the law took effect.

It was previously estimated that about 1 million young adults under the age of 26 were affected by President Obama’s health care reform law, but new reports suggest it was more than twice that number.

The Associated Press reports:

Under the health overhaul, children can remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26, and families have flocked to sign up young adults making the transition to work in a challenging economic environment. But the fate of President Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment remains uncertain, with the Supreme Court scheduled to hear a constitutional challenge next year, and Republican presidential candidates vowing to repeal it.

“The increase in coverage among 19- to 25-year-olds can be directly attributed to the Affordable Care Act’s new dependent coverage provision,” said a draft report from the Health and Human Services Department. “Initial gains from this policy have continued to grow as … students graduate from high school and college.” A copy of the report was obtained by The Associated Press.

Using unpublished quarterly statistics from the government’s ongoing National Health Interview Survey, analysts in Sebelius’ policy office determined that nearly 36 percent of those age 19-25 were uninsured in the third calendar quarter of 2010, before the law’s provision took effect.

That translates to more than 10.5 million people.

By the second calendar quarter of 2011, the proportion of uninsured young adults had dropped to a little over 27 percent, or about 8 million people.

The difference — nearly 2.5 million getting coverage — can only be the result of the health care law, administration officials said, because the number covered by public programs like Medicaid went down slightly.

While most of the health care reform law does not go into effect until 2014, the provision in question went into effect last fall and most employer health insurance plans started following through with this change on Jan. 1, the AP reports.

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