The Affordable Care Act, or more affably called Obamacare, has received nonstop attention in the media. The reasons are numerous: Public opinion of the law is still very low even though specific provisions are overwhelmingly popular, there are lingering misconceptions about the law, and there are constant delays. Despite perceptions, rollout, and other issues, Obamacare is good for millennials. It expands health care that has historically eluded similar age groups in years past, provides competition in the industry, and begins to address our high health care costs.
One of the most important facets of the ACA for millennials is that now, they can stay on their parent’s plans until they turn 26, whereas before insurers had their own discretion in covering people past a certain age. Data from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services illustrated in the chart below shows that before 2010 the percentage of young adults with health insurance aged 19-25 lagged far below those aged 26-35. After the ACA was signed into law the negative trend in coverage has been reversing and has even begun to outpace that of older Americans.
Percentage of Young Adults With Health Insurance,
2009-2011 by Quarter & Age Group
Opponents of the law argued that Obamacare would simply result in a government takeover of the marketplace and force costs to skyrocket. Oregon has given us evidence that more choice, combined with other aspects of the law like income-based tax credits, may actually lead to premiums being offset. The ACA allows younger Americans to have more financial security by having access to health care for longer. Obamacare also gives us greater access to the details of what each insurance plan is offering. With better information, we can make better choices and save more money.
Creating competition played a key role in the administration’s push to pass the Affordable Care Act in back in 2010. The theory was to create health insurance marketplaces that would provide the competition needed to lower the costs. The lack of competition remains a main factor in the high cost of our health care. Introducing competition into the market can help begin to address our high costs.
Most Americans are well aware that our health care spending is threatening to eat up more and more of our economy in the long run. Although spending is slowing our costs are still higher than those of any other developed nation. By no means does Obamacare provide an absolute solution to the American health care crisis. However, it does take needed steps in addressing problems unique to our country. Giving millennials access to health care will help them lead more productive lives and take a burden off of their shoulders when they are graduating college and looking for employment. Adding competition to a much monopolized market will help Americans get a better understanding of the product that they are purchasing. Looks like Obamacare is doing something right.