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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Health Care, Health Insurance, 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)


Medical Home for Adolescents: Low Attainment Rates for Those With Mental Health Problems and Other Vulnerable Groups

This 2012 study by researchers in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine examined the current rates of medical home attainment for adolescents.

Adolescents | Disparities | Health Care | Medical Home | Mental Health

The Health of America’s Middle Childhood Population

This 2002 monograph describes the environment in which children live and presents diverse measures of wellbeing, as well as traditional measures of health.

Demographics | Dental/Oral | Health Care | Mental Health | Middle Childhood | Obesity | Schools | Victimization

Highlights and Hazards: What Do the Current Health Care Bills Do for Adolescents and Young Adults?

This fact sheet provides an analysis of the major health care reform bills before the House and Senate as of November 2009.

Adolescents | Health Care | Health Insurance | Policy | Young Adults

Use of Mental Health Counseling as Adolescents Become Young Adults

This 2008 article uses AddHealth data to compare rates of mental health counseling use between adolescents and young adults.

Adolescents | Mental Health | Transitions | Young Adults

Health Insurance Access and Counseling Receipt and Their Association With Later Depressive and Suicidal Symptoms

This 2012 brief analyzes panel data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health for 9,996 adolescents to assess whether the receipt of supportive (psychological or emotional) counseling and access to health insurance is related to the persistence of adolescent depression and/or suicidality into young adulthood.

Adolescents | Depression | Health Insurance | Mental Health