The Commonwealth Fund, a non-partisan health care think tank, has put out some great material on health insurance reform as it relates to young Americans.
Their new pdf supplement for journalists includes a section on young adults:
WHAT PROBLEMS DO YOUNG ADULTS FACE IN OBTAINING COVERAGE, AND HOW WOULD COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH REFORM HELP THEM?
More than 13 million adults ages 19 to 29 lacked insurance coverage in 2007. Commonwealth Fund analysis shows that even though young adults are only 17 percent of the under-65 population, they comprise nearly 30 percent of the nonelderly uninsured.
Many young people become uninsured when they turn 19 and are no longer covered under their parents’ insurance. By far, the young adults most at risk of lacking coverage are those from low-income households. About 22 percent of adults ages 19 to 29 live in households with incomes below 100 percent of the federal poverty level, but almost two-fifths (39%) of the 13.2 million young adults who are uninsured live in households with incomes below the poverty level.
For the many young adults who hold low-wage or temporary jobs that don’t include benefits, affordable coverage is not easily available. During their early working years, young people frequently go without coverage until they get jobs with better benefits. Yet Commonwealth Fund research shows that gaps in coverage can have important health and economic consequences for young adults and their families.
Comprehensive health reform could extend affordable coverage not only to the 13 million young adults who currently are uninsured but also to the millions more who undergo coverage transitions during their early working years. Young adults could remain covered under their parents’ policies until age 26. Those with incomes up to 150 percent of poverty level could receive coverage under Medicaid or CHIP. A portable public health insurance plan within a national health insurance exchange would provide a continuous source of coverage for young people who make frequent job changes.
The Commonwealth Fund’s currently featured podcast is about keeping young Americans insured. You can download the mp3 here.
You should also check out their report Rite of Passage? Why Young Adults Become Uninsured and How New Policies Can Help, 2009 Update.