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The effects of U.S. Laws on youth today

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New health care law helps more than 3 million young adults get and keep health coverage

A new report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shows that 3.1 million young adults have gained health insurance because of the health care law. Without the health care law – the Affordable Care Act – these 3.1 million young adults would not have health insurance. As a result of the law, the proportion of insured adults ages 19 through 25 has increased to nearly 75 percent.

The Affordable Care Act requires insurers to allow young adults to remain on their parents’ family plans until their 26 birthday, even if they move away from home or graduate from school. This policy took effect on September 23, 2010.

“Today, because of the health care law, more than 3 million more young adults have health insurance,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “This policy doesn’t just give young adults and their families peace of mind, it also gives them freedom. It means that as they begin their careers, they will be free to make choices based on what they want to do, not on where they can get health insurance.”

Before the Affordable Care Act, young adults were the age group least likely to have health insurance. Not only were young adults more likely to be uninsured, they were also more than twice as likely as older adults to lose private insurance coverage once they had it. Some young adults lost coverage when they became too old to qualify as a dependent on their parents’ plans, and others lost coverage as they graduated from school or changed jobs.