U.S. young adults want health insurance

June 8, 2012 at 9:47 PM

NEW YORK, June 8 (UPI) -- Affordability, rather than a belief that they do not need insurance, is major barrier to U.S. young adults obtaining health insurance coverage, researchers say.

Sara R. Collins, Ruth Robertson, Tracy Garber and Michelle M. Doty of the Commonwealth Fund in New York said a survey of young adults from November 2010 to November 2011 found an estimated 13.7 million young adults ages 19-25 stayed on or joined their parents' health plans -- including 6.6 million who likely would not have been able to do so prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

"Nearly two-of-five young adults ages 19-29 were without health insurance for all or part of 2011, with young adults in low- and moderate-income households the most at risk," the researchers said in a statement.

The lack of insurance had significant health and financial implications for young adults -- 60 percent said they did not get needed healthcare because of cost and half reported problems paying medical bills or said they were paying off medical debt over time, while 25 percent said they were paying off a medical debt of $4,000 or more.

There were 2.1 million live births in 2010 among women ages 20-29. Young adults ages 20-24 had the highest number and rate of HIV diagnoses of any age group in 2009, and 15 percent of young adults ages 18-29 had arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

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