A new study by the Commonwealth Fund reveals that being born with parents who are employed by an organization that provides health care benefits now seems to have a positive effect on a person’s ability to obtain and afford medical treatment. According to the report, in 2011, an additional 6.6 million young persons ages 19-25 were able to obtain health insurance.
In a bizarre twist, the trend of more young people obtaining health insurance is only seen up until the person reaches the age of 26 and seems to have no effect at all on young persons whose parents’ employers do not provide health insurance benefits. While researchers are still puzzling over the mysterious trend, they postulate it may somehow be connected to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which mandates that young adults under the age of 26 be permitted to stay on their parents’ health plans. Crazy!
As the report goes on to find, young people whose parents do not have health coverage are basically S.O.L. Currently, more than one-third of all young adults at age 19 are coping with medical bill burdens or are paying off medical debt. And, the amount of medical debt is often substantial. One-quarter of young adults who were paying off medical debt owed $4,000 or more, and 15 percent reported $8,000 or more in debt. Of those who reported problems with medical bills or debt, 43% reported using all of their savings to afford the bills, 32% were unable to make student loan or tuition payments, 31% delayed education or career plans, and 28% were unable to pay for necessities such as food, heat, or rent.
But this is not the only shocking finding revealed by the new study. Researchers also discovered that young people without insurance were less likely to have regular medical care. While 85 percent of young adults with continuous insurance coverage reported having a regular doctor or place of care at the time of the survey, that rate dropped to only 38 percent for those without insurance.
Obviously, though, these effects are entirely the young people’s own fault. First of all, it would have been far more prudent of them to have been born with parents who were gainfully employed. Or, you know, they could have just not gotten sick in the first place. Plus, if these 19 year-olds hadn’t been so lazy, they could have just obtained a full-time job that provided health care benefits immediately upon graduating high school while simultaneously attending college like the rest of us. But now, it seems these slackers just want the government to pick up the bill when they go to college and only hold down a part-time job with no benefits.
Official White House photo by Pete Souza
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