President Obama’s 2010 health reform law has been heralded by its supporters as strongly beneficial for young Americans. After all, the ACA decrees that all health insurance plans that offer any dependent coverage must offer coverage to enrollees’ “adult children” (the terminology used in the law) until age 26, even if the adult child no longer lives with his or her parents, is not a dependent on a parent’s tax return, or is no longer a student … even if the adult child is married. And the uninsured rate for those between 19 and 26 has indeed decreased.
So what’s not to like about the health law for young Americans? The under-appreciated truth is that the ACA has serious adverse impacts on young Americans, far more significant and longer lasting than temporary eligibility to remain on a parent’s insurance.