With an estimated 29.3 percent of Americans age 19 to 29 lacking coverage, young adults are more likely to be uninsured than any other age group. Many policy-makers and advocates have ideas about how to insure this group, including enacting a federal statute to expand dependent coverage. Such a statute does not currently exist at the federal level, but new research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded State Health Access Reform Evaluation (SHARE), finds that 38 states have some form of mandate to expand dependent coverage to adults in their mid-twenties and beyond. According to the authors from Rutgers University, the experiences of state expansions provide federal policy-makers with valuable information to consider as they develop national policy.
The authors investigate these state-level policies and examine the differences in strategies taken by the states. Their research finds that:
- Four states require that young adult dependents have no dependents themselves.
- Most states require state residency for non-students but not for full-time students.
- Nine states require financial dependence or residency with parents.
- Six states have continuous or creditable coverage requirements.
- Most states mandate that all regulated markets and public employee plans abide by expanded adult dependent coverage definitions.
- 12 states require insurers to average the cost of young adult dependent coverage into group premiums, while eight others required that insurers establish separate premiums for new dependent enrollees.
- While there has been some take-up of these plans in states, preliminary findings have shown no net effect on coverage rates.