Health Exchanges Could Greatly Benefit Young Adults

October 30, 2013 ( – The health insurance exchanges created as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or ACA) could be especially beneficial to young adults.

An October 28 research brief from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found that nearly five in 10 (or 46%) of uninsured young adults (those between the ages of 18 and 34) may be able to purchase “bronze level” health coverage, via the exchanges, for $50 or less per month. This figure would be after the use of tax credits.

The HHS brief cited that under the ACA, “advanced payment of the premium tax credits will be available to help eligible individuals and families afford insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace [i.e., the exchanges].”

Young adults in households of any type account for 41% of the 41.3 million eligible uninsured nationwide, said Laura Skopec and Emily R. Gee, the authors of the brief. “Young adults are the age group most likely to be without health insurance coverage and are therefore a key target for outreach and enrollment activities,” said the authors.

Skopec and Gee also pointed out that about 1.8 million of eligible young adults may be able to pay $100 or less per month for silver- or bronze-level health coverage and that about 92,000 may be able to pay $100 or less for catastrophic coverage. In addition, another 1.3 million eligible young adults may be able to purchase bronze-level coverage for $50 or less a month after tax credits.

To arrive at their conclusions, the authors used data about household composition and income from the 2011 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample.

A copy of the research brief, which includes the methodology for its analysis, can be downloaded here.