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Commonwealth Fund: Young Adults Face Gaps in Care

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Many young adults with relatively high incomes are having trouble with paying for medical care.

About 45% of U.S. adults ages 19 to 29 said they had trouble with paying for medical care in 2010 or went without care because of worries about cost, up from 32% in 2001, according to researchers at the Commonwealth Fund, New York.

Lower-income young adults had more health care cost problems than higher-income young adults, but 38% of young adults with annual incomes over 200% of the federal poverty limit said they had experienced cost-related health care access problems in 2010, up from 25% in 2001.

About 14% of young adults incomes over 250% of the federal poverty level spent 10% or more of their income on health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs; 25% had problems with paying medical bills, and 36% failed to get needed care because of concerns about the cost of care.

The researchers found that about 15 million young adults were uninsured in 2009.

About half of those young, uninsured adults had incomes low enough that they should qualify for Medicaid when expanded Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) eligibility rules take effect in 2014. In 2014, if the rules take effect as written, all adults with incomes below 133% of the federal poverty level will be eligible for Medicaid.

But 16% of the uninsured young adults had incomes over 250% of the federal poverty level, and 6% had incomes equal to 400% of the federal poverty level or higher.

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