by Rebecca Burkholder, NCL VP for Health Policy Young adults are the largest and fastest growing segment of the U.S. population without health insurance, according to a report recently issued by the Commonwealth Fund. Many young people are dropped from their parents’ policies or public programs when they turn 19. The Commonwealth Fund found that working young adults are much less likely than older adults to have access to health insurance through their employees (53 percent of 19-29 year olds compared to 74 percent of 30 – 64 year olds). Some states are addressing the problem; 20 have passed legislation requiring insurers to extend coverage for young adults up to the age of 24.
The lack of health coverage for young adults is just one more indication that our health care system is broken. For more than 60 years, NCL has advocated for comprehensive health coverage for all Americans. We now join many other groups and coalitions in calling for a national health plan. NCL’s LifeSmarts program can play a valuable role in raising awareness and educating those young adults who may soon face loss of health coverage. Through education, and national, state and local efforts, we can move closer to ensuring that all American have access to quality health care, no matter what their age.