WASHINGTON — President Obama’s healthcare law helped as many as 6.6 million young adults stay on or get on their parents’ health plans in the first year and a half after the law was signed, a new survey indicates.
That number, found in the survey by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, is far higher than earlier estimates. And at a time when public wariness about the Affordable Care Act remains high, it underscores the popularity of a provision that requires insurers to allow parents to enroll their children up to age 26 on their own plans.
Earlier surveys by the federal government found that the number of people ages 19 to 25 without insurance declined after the law was signed, reversing years of erosion in health coverage for young adults.
But, although the government research indicated that 2.5 million more young adults had health insurance in 2011 than in 2010, it was unclear how many people were benefiting from the law.
The Affordable Care Act is under review by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a decision is expected by the end of June. If the court strikes down the entire federal healthcare law, the requirement that young adults be allowed to sign on to their parents’ plans would die. Some insurers have indicated that they might embrace the provision voluntarily, citing its popularity.
In California, state law provides that this provision must remain in effect, regardless of the court’s ruling.
Not all of the estimated 6.6 million young adults who joined or stayed on their parents’ plans would have otherwise been uninsured, according to officials at the Commonwealth Fund, which is a leading source of healthcare research. At least some probably moved to their parents’ plans from other health insurance plans because the family plans were less costly or more comprehensive.
But, Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis said, the survey was a hopeful indicator at a time when millions of Americans are struggling to get needed healthcare. "The new report … shows that implementation of the law has already begun to make a difference for young adults, their families and other Americans," she said.
The survey of more than 1,800 young adults nationwide measured how young people got insurance between November 2010 and November 2011.
The expansion in coverage for young adults has been a rare bright spot for the Obama administration and other backers of the healthcare law who have been laboring since 2010 to highlight the benefits of the law, most of which will not be evident for years. Under the law, all Americans will be guaranteed access to health coverage for the first time starting in 2014.
Allowing young adults, most of whom are healthy, to remain on their parents’ health plans is not as expensive as expanding coverage to populations with higher medical costs, although independent analyses estimate the expansion could boost premiums 1% to 2%.
Congressional Republicans are working to dismantle the law, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, has promised to repeal it if elected in November.
House Republicans continued their campaign Thursday, voting to scrap a 2.3% tax on medical devices sold in America that was included in the law to help raise money to provide health coverage to an estimated 32 million people. The largely symbolic measure, cheered by business groups, is not expected to succeed in the Democratic Senate.
House Republicans also voted to rescind new restrictions on the use of tax-free health accounts; these were also included in the new healthcare law. So far, however, GOP lawmakers have not advanced any alternatives to the law.
The Commonwealth Fund survey suggests that simply repealing the law would have a substantial effect on young people, many of whom are still struggling to pay their medical bills and to get health insurance.
Nearly 2 in 5 young adults ages 19 to 29 reported a gap in health insurance in 2011, according to the survey. And 41% delayed getting needed medical care.
Millions of young adults are also struggling with debt they incurred to get medical care, with one-fifth reporting they are having to pay off medical bills over time.
That burden is falling most heavily on young people without insurance, with more than one-quarter reporting they had been contacted by a collection agency over unpaid medical bills.
Those without insurance are also disproportionately low income, with 70% of young people who make less than $29,726 a year — 133% of the federal poverty level — reporting that they had lacked insurance at some point in the previous year.
These Americans are also the least likely to join a parent’s health plan. While 69% of young adults in families making more than four times the poverty level stayed on or joined their parents’ health plans, just 17% from families making less than 133% of the poverty line did so, the survey found.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:30 am
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Three in 10 young adults live with parents, highest level since 1950s
A weak economy and high debt levels are prompting more young adults to return to the family nest, a new survey shows. Perhaps surprisingly, most are happy with their living arrangements.
By Husna Haq, Correspondent / March 15, 2012
3 and 0 After graduating from Brown University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature and completing a Fulbright scholarship in Brazil, Cassie Owens was left with a few dollars on her stipend and no job in sight. So, Ms. Owens returned home to her mother in Philadelphia.
.“I moved back home pretty much for lack of money and prospects,” she says. Owens’s cousin, Evon Burton, who also returned home after graduating from Morehouse College in 2009, adds, “The choice is to go out and be in debt or to pursue your dreams and save up money at home, in a safe, stable environment.”
Owens and Burton are among the scores of so-called “boomerang kids,” young adults who move out of the family home for school or work and then return home. Unable to find well-paying work in a weak economy, escalating numbers of young adults – as many as 3 in 10 – are returning home to the family nest, resulting in the highest share of young adults living in multigenerational households since the 1950s, according to a Pew Research Center report released Thursday.
“The rise in the boomerang phenomenon illustrates the effect the recession and the weak economy are having on young adults,” says Kim Parker, a senior researcher at Pew and the author of the study. “Young adults were hit particularly hard in the job market and are having to delay reaching some basic financial milestones of adulthood because of this.”
In 1980, some 11 percent of young adults lived in multigenerational households, suggesting that a strong economy helped youngsters gain independence more quickly. Today, some 29 percent of 25- to 34-year olds either never moved out of their parents’ home or say they returned home in recent years because of the economy, according to the Pew report. Among 18- to 24-year olds, that figure is even higher – 53 percent of young adults in that age group live at home.
“These statistics show that the recession has exacerbated a trend that was already under way since the 1980s … living at home longer and boomeranging back more frequently,” says Barbara Ray, coauthor of “Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood and Why It’s Good for Everyone.” The recession has hit this age group particularly hard, says Ms. Ray, and high unemployment among young adults, combined with growing college debt, means more youngsters are returning home.
Surprisingly, most “boomerang kids” don’t mind living with mom and dad. If ever there were a stigma about living with parents through one’s late twenties and thirties, the recession and, along with it, a practical dollars-and-cents outlook on life have all but erased that perception.
Of those living at home, some 78 percent say they’re upbeat about their living arrangements, according to the Pew study, and 24 percent say it’s been good for their relationships with their parents (48 percent say it hasn’t changed their relationship).
Owens says she’s happy to have an opportunity to look after her mother, who isn’t in good health.
“My parents love it and if they could keep me here forever they would,” says Erika Brunner, who moved back home to Lafayette, N.Y., in 2010 after completing her bachelor’s degree, working, and traveling in Europe for five months.
.What’s more, says Parker, the trend of young adults returning home, and with it, the increasing number of multigenerational households in the US, suggest family is once again becoming an important social safety net.
“Census data suggest that if it can keep you out of poverty, it is in essence a sort of social safety net,” she says, citing Pew findings that young adults who live in multigenerational homes are less likely to live in poverty than those who don’t. Given an aging population and entitlement programs threatened due to a budget crunch, “it seems like family has to step in and fill a void,” says Parker. “That’s what we’re seeing here.”
But in many cases, it also means young adults are caught in a murky phase between adolescence and adulthood.
“The recession has really accelerated trends of prolonging adolescence and shifting adulthood later. If you can’t find a job, it’s difficult to establish yourself,” says Parker.
In fact, as many as 3 in 10 young adults postponed marriage, starting a family, or both, due to the economy, according to the Pew report. Another third have returned to school and untold numbers have settled for a job simply to make ends meet.
“But in spite of the trials and tribulations this generation is facing, they are extremely optimistic about the future,” says Parker.
Take Owens. Because well-paying jobs are hard to come by, she says, “a lot of people are going where their heart is and trying to have a good experience. In the past, they would have been content settling for a [traditional job]. Now no one’s willing to make pennies at a job they hate, so a lot of people are pursuing the stuff they really love.”
In Owens’s case, that’s journalism and music, which the 24-year-old is exploring with internships at Philadelphia’s CITY newspaper and at R&B Records, a mecca for audiophiles, which stocks one of the country’s largest collections of 45s. Owens says she’s been “blown away” by the experience and is planning to return to graduate school soon for a master’s degree in journalism.
But as Mr. Burton and Ms. Brunner – each of whom juggles three or more part-time jobs or internships – point out, the situation for many young adults is far from ideal. “I don’t think I’d be working 3.5 part-time jobs if I nailed down one that paid well enough and was something I really enjoyed,” says Brunner.
In that, Ray sees a worrisome trend in the boomerang generation.
“If the ‘launch’ feels blocked for too long, will this generation’s optimism curdle into bitterness and skepticism?” she asks, in an e-mail. “Will a ding to their wages at an important juncture haunt them for years? Will a generation that has been told they can be and do anything – without many challenges as of yet – be resilient enough to withstand this setback?” she says. “Only time will tell.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:26 pm
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Why Are Record Numbers Of Young Adults Jobless And Living At Home With Mom And Dad?
In the United States today, unemployment among those age 18 to age 34 is at epidemic levels and the number of young adults that are now living at home with Mom and Dad is at an all-time high. So why are so many of our young adults jobless? Why are record numbers of them unable or unwilling to move out on their own? Well, there are quite a few factors at work. Number one, our education system has completely and totally failed them. As I have written about previously, our education system is a joke and most high school graduates these days are simply not prepared to function at even a very basic level in our society. In addition, college education in the United States has become a giant money making scam that leaves scores of college graduates absolutely drowning in debt. Many young adults end up moving back in with Mom and Dad because they are drowning in so much debt that there are no other options. Thirdly, the number of good jobs continues to decline and this is hitting younger Americans the hardest. Millions of young people enter the workforce excited about the future only to find that there are hordes of applicants for the very limited number of decent jobs that are actually available. So all of this is creating an environment where more young adults are financially dependent on their parents that ever before in modern American history.
Since the start of the recession, the percentage of young adults in America that are employed has dropped like a rock. In 2007, the employment rate for Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 was 62.4 percent. Today, it is down to 54.3 percent.
Yes, there are certainly many out there that are lazy, but the truth is that most of them would like to work if they could. It is just that it is much harder to find a job these days.
And it isn’t just young people that think that the job market has gotten tougher. According to one recent survey, 82 percent of all Americans believe that it is harder for young adults to find jobs today than it was for their parents to find jobs.
But if they cannot get jobs, then young adults cannot financially support themselves. So more of them than ever are heading back home to live with Mom and Dad.
In the year 2000, 8.3 percent of all American women between the ages of 25 and 34 were living at home with their parents. Today, that figure is up to 9.7 percent.
In the year 2000, 12.9 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 were living at home with their parents. Today, that figure is up to an astounding 18.6 percent.
Take a moment and let those statistics sink in.
Nearly one out of every five American men from age 25 to age 34 are living at home with Mommy and Daddy.
When you look at Americans age 18 to age 24, it is even worse. Among Americans age 18 to age 24, 50 percent of all women and 59 percent of all men still live with their parents.
Those are very frightening numbers.
Part of this has to do with a fundamental cultural shift. An increasing number of parents these days expect that they will have to take care of their own children beyond the age of 22. The following is from a recent article by Pew Research….
When asked in a 1993 survey what age children should be financially independent from their parents, 80% of parents said children have to be self-reliant by age 22. In the current survey, only 67% of parents say children have to be financially independent by age 22—a drop of 13 percentage points.
But what accounts for the tremendous gender disparity that we see in the figures above?
Well, one major factor is that young women are now far more likely to pursue a college education than young men are. According to an article in the New York Times, women now account for approximately 57 percent of all enrollments at U.S. colleges and universities.
The less education you have, the more likely you are to be unemployed in America today. So that is certainly a significant factor.
But many that have gone on to college are also moving back home. When you are a young adult with no job and no prospects and you are swamped with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, it can be incredibly difficult to be financially independent.
After adjusting for inflation, U.S. college students are now borrowing about twice as much money as they did a decade ago. Many students that go on to graduate school end up with more than $100,000 in total student loan debt.
Sadly, those degrees often do not pay off. In fact, in America today one-third of all college graduates end up taking jobs that don’t even require college degrees.
So what does all of this mean?
It means that there are millions upon millions of angry, disillusioned and frustrated young adults out there today. A recent USA Today article told the story of 32-year-old Dennis Hansen….
After a year without work, Hansen, 32, was hired to monitor Lake Michigan and Lake Superior water for the state and federal governments over two summers. He also had short stints as a census worker and as an extra post office hand during one holiday crush.
It hasn’t been enough: Hansen says he has a $13,000 credit card debt and that’s just for basics — his $600 monthly mortgage, heat and food.
"It’s definitely a roller coaster," Hansen says, with the ups coming when he’s done well in a job interview and the downs when there’s a rejection: "That’s when I’m frustrated, angry and wondering why I went to college for 10 years."
If the economy was humming along on all cylinders, it would be easy to blame our young adults for being too lazy.
But these days most young adults have to scramble like crazy just to get a really low paying job. Large numbers of very talented young adults are waiting tables, flipping burgers or stocking shelves at Wal-Mart.
And this reality is reflected in the overall economic statistics. Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you adjust for inflation.
The "wealth gap" between younger Americans and older Americans is also growing and recently hit a new all-time high. U.S. households led by someone 65 years of age or older are now 47 times wealthier than U.S. households led by someone 35 years of age or younger.
But this is not good for our society. When there is civil unrest, it is not those 65 and older that take to the streets.
We desperately need our economy to get healthy again so that our young adults can get good jobs, get married, set up households, raise families and be productive members of society.
Instead, the percentage of young adults that have jobs is near an all-time low, the percentage of young adults living with their parents is at an all-time high, the proportion of adults in the United States that are married is at an all-time low and we have hordes of angry, frustrated young adults with plenty of time on their hands.
You don’t have to be a genius to see trouble on the horizon.
What is going to happen when the next major financial crisis comes and the economy gets significantly worse than it is now?
In the end, we are going to reap what we have sown. We have fundamentally failed our young adults, and those failures are going to produce some very bitter fruit.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:44 pm
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