ACA young-adult provisions shifting health costs to insurers

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that allows adult children to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies through age 26 shifted at least $147 million in health care costs from patients and hospitals to insurance companies in 2011, according to a RAND Corp. study.

“Insurance is doing its job and picking up those costs,” said Katherine Harris, a RAND senior economist.

The research, published in the May 30 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, found that emergency room visits by uninsured young adults between the ages of 19 and 25 dropped 9% in 2011, while emergency room visits by privately insured young people rose 5%.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that the ACA’s dependent-coverage provision brought health insurance to about 3.1 million young Americans.

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