Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Affordable Care Act helps new graduates


Excerpts from a letter to new college graduates from Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Before the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, was passed in 2010, graduation day was the day when millions of young adults lost their health insurance, making them one of the most vulnerable groups of Americans. Many young adults were forced to go without coverage, making them just one accident or serious medical illness away from unmanageable medical bills that could make them go broke trying to pay for the care they needed.  Because of the new health care law, many young adults can join or remain on their parents’ health insurance plan until their 26th birthday.  More than 2.5 million young adults nationwide already have taken advantage of this provision of the Affordable Care Act and gained health insurance, and many more are eligible to gain coverage.
Prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act, young adults were much more likely to be uninsured and about twice as likely as older adults to lose private insurance coverage.  Young adults often lost health coverage because they aged out of their parents’ coverage, moved between school and employment, and changed jobs frequently.
Millions of young adults do not have to worry about this anymore.  The new health care law makes it possible for young adults under age 26 to remain on their parents’ health care plan if the policy covers dependent children.  This is true whether they are unemployed, looking for a job, married, in school, living at home, or even if they are employed but their employer does not offer coverage.  (Until 2014, some parents’ employment-based health plans may not provide coverage to young adult children if the children have access to their own employment-based health coverage.)  Now, graduating students are free to make career choices based on what they want to do, not where they can get health insurance.  That is why we are encouraging you to ensure that your graduating students are aware of this new option to get health care coverage.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides resources for students and families to learn how to retain their health insurance or shift from a student health plan to their parents’ plan.  Young adults who lose student health coverage may be able to enroll immediately as dependents in their parents’ health coverage or may need to wait for an open enrollment period.
Learn more about coverage under the ACA for young adults here:  http://www.healthcare.gov/law/features/choices/young-adult-coverage/index.html

Feel free to contact Family Voices Indiana if you need additional information. 

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