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People of All Ages Need Health Care Reform: Part 1-Young Adults

Young adults (ages 19 to 29) are one of the largest and fastest growing segments of the U.S. population without health insurance. In 2007, 13.2 million, or 29 percent, of Americans aged 19 to 29 did not have insurance.

Finding affordable, comprehensive health care for individuals who are just starting their careers and trying to establish financial independence can be particularly difficult. Depending on state laws, young adults are forced off their parent’s coverage at different ages, generally either when they turn 18 or graduate from college.

For young adults who are able to find employment, a majority still do not have employer-sponsored health care: 28 percent of employed young adult do not have insurance. Many young adults only work part-time, are more likely to work for small businesses, and are less likely to have job stability and security, leading to difficulty having or keeping health care.

Young adults are sometimes seen as invincible, leaving people to wonder how much health care they actually need. However, one in six young adult have a common chronic condition, one-quarter are obese, and one in six end up in the Emergency Room because of an injury. Without health coverage, preventive care is not possible, creating a potentially major health issue out of minor and preventable problems. As we know, no one is invincible, making affordable health care a necessity for all Americans.

When young adults do need care, they often fall into debt. One-third of all young adults, those with and without insurance, report problems paying their medical bills, causing many to begin their adult life burdened with medical debt.

Health care reform is critical to providing young adults with high quality, affordable health coverage. It will lead to security, more preventive care, affordable options for the young adult and their employers, and relief from large medical bills.

Information provided is according to reports released by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Commonwealth Fund.

Have a health care story of your own to share? Please add it to the comments below!

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