More young adults insured on parents' policies

Diemo Landeros (L) is checked by dentist Irina Rayfeld from Commerce Dental during a free clinic in Los Angeles. A new study says the Obama health care law has helped more than six million young adults under 26 stay on or get on their parents' health insurance plans.

Kai Ryssdal: We're still a couple of weeks away from the Supreme Court handing down its decision on health care reform. But one of the most popular parts of that law is in the news today. The part that lets young adults stay on their parent's insurance until they're 26. What hasn't gotten much attention yet is what happens after they turn 26. Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.


Nancy Marshall-Genzer: A lot of young adults have gotten on their parent’s insurance as a result of the health care law -- more than six million, according to a study out today from the Commonwealth Fund. But now, some of those millions are being dropped from their parent’s plans because they’ve turned 26. Acacia Squires is one of them.

Acacia Squires: The day of my birthday they kicked me off. So, it was sort of like an unhappy birthday present.

But Squires had planned ahead. She loaded up on health care. She knew she needed to get her wisdom teeth out. So she called her dentist.

Squires: And I said look, I’m turning 26 I’m going to lose my dental insurance  And he said OK, we’re going to get you in.

That was last fall. Since then, Squires  got insurance through grad school, with no dental coverage. But now she’s graduated. Her insurance runs out in August. She knows the health care law’s mandate requiring insurance starts in 2014, if it’s not found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Squires say she’ll buy insurance if she doesn’t have a job with benefits by then. And insurers are already marketing plans just for her age group.

Dr. Alan Muney is chief medical officer at Cigna.

Alan Muney: Things happen when they least expect it. You can get a bad illness. You can get into an accident.

Costs can add up without insurance. The Commonwealth study also found 44 percent of young adults from 26 to 29 have had problems paying medical bills. In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall-Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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