Research :: Access to Health Care for Young Adults: The Affordable Care Act of 2010 is Making a Difference

As the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reaches its two-year anniversary in March 2012, NAHIC and the Center for Adolescent Health & the Law (CAHL) have partnered to examine the law’s effect on young adults in this 4-page brief. In December 2011, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced that, as a result of initial implementation of the ACA, 2.5 million more young adults ages 19 to 25 have health insurance than would have been covered without the ACA. This represents a major step forward for an age group that has lagged behind adolescents and older adults in having coverage. This age group also experiences a wide variety of health concerns, often more severe than those affecting adolescents. In addition to expanding access to private insurance for young adults, the ACA contains important provisions that will expand Medicaid eligibility for this age group and improve access to preventive services. The issue brief discusses these gains and challenges in ensuring access to quality health care for all young adults.

Click here to download the brief.

Additional background on young adult coverage in the ACA can be found in a summary brief published by CAHL and NAHIC in August of 2010: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: How Does it Help Adolescents and Young Adults?

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Access & Utilization, Affordable Care Act, Policy, Young Adults


March 22, 2012


Abigail English, JD, Center for Adolescent Health & the Law & M. Jane Park, MPH, NAHIC, UC San Francisco


Access to Health Care for Young Adults: The Affordable Care Act of 2010 is Making a Difference (PDF)


Midcourse Review of the Healthy People 2010: 21 Critical Health Objectives for Adol’s & Young Adults

Progress on the 21 Critical Health Objectives was reviewed as part of the Healthy People 2010 Midcourse Review. The review found little or no improvement on most objectives.

Data and Monitoring | Mortality | Policy | Recommendations | Risky Behavior | Trends | Young Adults

Protecting Adolescent Confidentiality Under Health Care Reform: The Special Case Regarding Explanation of Benefits (EOBs)

This report explores a number of strategies to balance the need of confidentiality with patient communication, and provides insights offered through interviews with experts on the subject.

Affordable Care Act | Confidential Care | Youth-Centered Care

Eligibility and Enrollment of Adolescents in Medicaid and SCHIP: Recent Progress, Current Challenges

This 2003 article examines the effect of federal and state policy changes on adolescents’ eligibility and enrollment in Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Access & Utilization | Health Care Reform | Policy

Health of Adolescents and Young Adults: Trends in Achieving the 21 Critical National Health Objectives by 2010

This study assessed trends in the 21 Critical National Health Objectives between 1991 and 2009, and from baseline years for which 2010 targets were established to 2009, and the extent to which targets were achieved.

Data and Monitoring | Trends | Young Adults

How Youth are Faring in the Transition to Adulthood

Led by our partners at Child Trends, NAHIC developed two reports examining how youth are faring in the transition to adulthood, with respect to having problems related to heavy alcohol use, illicit drug use, criminal behavior, and financial hardship.

Depression | Families | Mental/Behavioral Health | Socio-demographic disparities | Substance Use | Transitions & Trajectories | Young Adults