The Great Youth Income Divide on Obamacare

It seems that many may be aware that the launch of Obamacare have caused a significant drop in the uninsured rate amongst young adults, but according to a detailed report release by the Health Affairs journal, numbers showed that those who are more affluent in the age range saw the biggest decline.

Another interesting fact that can be deduced from the study is that these same youths are more likely to go without health insurance coverage than the rest of the population, and not just during the Affordable Care Act’s infancy too. Stacey McMorrow, an Urban Institute researcher and co-author of the report, was quick to add that this same group of youths have always experienced an astoundingly high rate of uninsurance.


A brief history of uninsurance rate

In 2009, before Obama took over the United States by storm with his Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate amongst youths aged 19 to 25 was recorded 30 percent.

This figure quickly changed, however, at the end of the open enrollment cycle for Obamacare in 2014 when it plummeted to 19 percent. Then, early this year, the uninsured rate stood at 12.3 per cent.

According to the report, these youths who earn more than four times the poverty level, dropped from 15.7 percent to a mere 6.1 percent during that period. Young adults who earn reasonably more saw a drop of almost 10 percent.

On the other hand, it’s interesting to note that those in the same age group who did not earn quite as high an income as their peers, did not see obvious reduction in uninsurance rates when Obamacare was enforced.


Medicaid eligibility a catalyst?

McMorrow also wrote her findings on how half of the remaining uninsured youths possess incomes below 138 percent of the poverty level. This would encourage them to apply for Medicaid since they are pretty much eligible to do so providing they are in states that saw expansion in the programs. However, 6 out of 10 uninsured people in that age range live in the 22 states who have not expanded, which would put them at a disadvantage.

Therefore, it’s easy to see that having more states expanding their Medicaid program would further help the uninsured rate ease into a more acceptable level for young adults.


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