A year ago, young adults were one of the most vulnerable groups of Americans in the health insurance market. However, since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, many of you can now stay on your parent’s family plan until you turn 26. It doesn’t matter whether you’re married, living with your parents, in school, or financially independent. This is a huge improvement that is freeing people to make decisions about their education, their careers, and their lives without being hemmed in by outdated insurance rules.
Before President Obama signed the health law, you typically had to go off your parent’s plan at 19 or whenever you left school. This put many young people in a tight spot, especially if they were living with a pre-existing condition like cancer, diabetes, or asthma—since it was very hard to get quality, affordable health insurance. Now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the class of 2011 will be the first to graduate with this new option on the books. Already, nearly 1.2 million young Americans will be able to gain insurance coverage this year as a result. This means as you start your career, you can pursue the jobs or opportunities that are best for you without worrying about health insurance.
There are other benefits, too, that are already in place:
These are just a few of the new benefits and protections that Americans of all ages are enjoying across the country. I encourage you to go to HealthCare.gov to access more information about the law, including a personalized list of private insurance plans, public programs and community services that are available.
Mayra Alvarez is the Director of Public Health Policy in the Office of Health Reform at the Department of Health and Human Services.