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Studies Show Obamacare Means Higher Costs For Young Adults

Posted on April 26, 2014

Buying health insurance doesn’t really change what young adults spend out-of-pocket on health care over the course of a year, Kaiser Health News reports.

A Journal of Adolescent Health analysis of 2009 federal data on patient spending found that young adults who were insured at least part of the year had higher emergency room costs than those who were uninsured the entire year.

Kaiser Health News noted that because the study looked only at records from 2009, it doesn’t factor in that young adults can still stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26 and can now receive subsidies for their insurance costs.

But not only are insurance companies charging even higher rates to adults who continue to use their parents’ health insurance, premiums for young adults are rising dramatically under the new health care law — by design.

The proportion of young adults in Obamacare exchanges has been so controversial because youths, who are healthier and less likely to need costly medical care, are needed to pay higher premiums to contribute to older and sicker exchange customers.

But with young adults paying more for being insured before Obamacare, they’re even less likely to want to purchase health insurance now that the health care law has pushed up young adults’ premiums disproportionately.

The results are not all that surprising. A January study from Washington think tank the American Action Forum found that according to federal data from 2011, when some but not all health care law reforms were active, six out of seven young adults actually spent less on health care when they went uninsured. (RELATED: Study: Staying uninsured cheaper than Obamacare for young)

Even when the individual mandate tax penalty rises dramatically over the next several years, the proportion of young adults benefiting from going uninsured will decrease only slightly to 71 percent in 2015 and 62 in 2014.

The lead author of the Journal of Adolescent Health report, Dr. Josephine Lau, said that Obamacare reforms that ban co-payments for preventive and wellness services may provide an incentive for young adults, but the addition of higher premiums may continue to keep young adults away from the insurance market.

Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at Kaiser Family Foundation, admitted that insurance can drive up out-of-pocket costs.

“When you give an uninsured person insurance, they have better protection but their out-of-pocket costs may go up because they’re able to use more services,” Levitt told KHN.

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5 thoughts on “Studies Show Obamacare Means Higher Costs For Young Adults

  1. nexgenesis says:

    The day that government starting interferring with Health Care, was the day that our health care systems serious troubles began. It is the dream of demon-crats to have a national health care system and so much so that they could care less whether they bankrupt the nation imposing their will on Americans, as this president has proved. The sinful waste of taxpayers dollars that this president spent is an example that it is not about good health care, its about realizing their dream to control and spend, even if it means bankrupting the nation.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Hope people are figuring that out by now and we'll see changes soon.

  3. Oscar Byington says:

    They get what they wanted. Hope they keeping supporting this administration so Obama can keep sticking it to them……

  4. "Studies Show Obamacare Means Higher Costs For Young Adults." Gee, you think? Of course who's going to pay for all the old and sick and their health care? It ain't going to be the old and the sick. Thank yourselves millennium's because you're the ones that helped put Obama in the White House.

  5. peleus212 says:

    "…higher costs for young adults.." now there is a shocker. Got to have the kids spring for the cost of the old folks but some of them are starting to figure this out and N O T Oh by the way they graduate from college and find no jobs so they are flipping burgers to pay off college loans and no money left for the latest Ponzi scheme