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Health reform insures 2.5 million young adults

By Suzanne Hoholik, The Columbus Dispatch –

A piece of the federal health reform law allowing adult children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26 has given coverage to millions of Americans who would otherwise be uninsured, federal officials announced recently.

Data from the National Health Interview Survey shows that since September 2010 – when this provision of the law took effect – to March 2011, the number of uninsured people who are 19 years to 25 years old declined almost 4 percent translating into 2.5 million people.

Federal health officials released the data today saying the law gives parents and adult children the peace of mind of having health insurance.

“Moms and dads around the country can breathe a little easier knowing their children are covered,” Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in a press release.

These young adults are more likely than other age groups of Americans to be uninsured.

“They are just entering the labor market and are far more likely than older adults to be in entry-level jobs that provide lower wages and fewer benefits like health coverage,” Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said in a press release. “As a result, too many young adults would, absent health reform, be uninsured once they finished high school or college.”

Without coverage, young adults – as well as most uninsured people – would delay routine care until medical conditions; illness or injuries worsen, and then seek health care in expensive hospital emergency rooms.

Advocates applauded the announcement as proof the reform law is helping consumers.

“This is yet another example of how the health care law is making a huge difference in the lives of America’s families,” Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now, said in a press release.

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