Health Reform Law Increased Coverage for Adult Children

January 10, 2012 ( - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has increased the health insurance coverage of adult children between 2009 and 2011, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

EBRI examined data from two U.S. Census Bureau surveys (the Current Population Survey, CPS and the Survey of Income and Program Participation or SIPP), as well as from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) by the Centers for Disease Control and found the percentage of persons ages 19‒25 with employment-based coverage as a dependent increased from 24.7% in 2009 to 27.7% in 2010, according to the CPS.   

The percentage of individuals ages 19‒25 with employment-based health coverage as a dependent averaged 26.9% during January‒September 2010, and increased to an average 27.1% during October and November, per SIPP. The percentage with private insurance increased from 51% to 55.8% and the percentage uninsured fell from 33.9% during 2010 to 28.8% during the first half of 2011, according to data from the NHIS.   

The PPACA requires that group health plans and insurers make dependent coverage available for children until they attain the age of 26, regardless of tax or student status, or dependent status as it relates to financial support. The mandate to offer coverage to adult children ages 19‒25 took effect for policy years that began on or after September 23, 2010, but since January is the beginning of the plan year for many employment-based health plans, many insurers adopted the requirements of the law before the effective date, EBRI noted.   

Full results of the report are published in the January 2012 EBRI Notes, “The Impact of PPACA on Employment-Based Health Coverage of Adult Children to Age 26,” at