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Report: More Young Adults Have Health Coverage Under Affordable Care Act

PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With millions of Americans facing crippling medical bills and limited financial access to quality health care, a new report from the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund takes a look at health care coverage for over 4,000 Americans in 2012, and found that young adults are seeing coverage gains.

The survey found the proportion of uninsured young adults aged 19-25 fell from 48 percent, or 13.6 million, in 2010 to 41 percent, or 11.7 million, in 2012.  The drop is likely due to the Affordable Care Act’s stipulation that children under the age of 26 be permitted to stay in or join a parent’s health plan.  

Still, there may be a long way to go to universal coverage. In 2012, 46 percent of U.S. adults -- that's 84 million people -- did not have insurance for the full year, or had coverage that provided inadequate protection from healthcare costs, the researchers found. Fifty-five million were uninsured the entire year, while another 30 million were insured, but had such high out-of-pocket medical costs relative to their income that they could be considered uninsured.

Dr. David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund, said, according to HealthDay, that the report "shows the continuation of the bad news that sparked the move to reform our dysfunctional health care system."

According to the survey findings, millions are struggling to pay medical bills, with 41 percent of all adults reporting problems paying and 42 percent receiving a lower credit rating as a result of this. Furthermore, 43 percent adults reported cost-related problems getting needed health care in 2012.  This is up from 37 percent in 2003.

The report does see a silver lining, however. The researchers expect the Affordable Care Act will help to alleviate the issues plaguing the U.S. health care system when it takes full effect next year.  

Under the new law, 87 percent of the 55 million adults with a gap in coverage last year would qualify for assistance with medical costs.  About 28 million would qualify for the expanded Medicaid program where available. Another 20 million would qualify for health plan subsidies through insurance exchanges, the report says.

To see the full report visit the Commonwealth Fund website HERE.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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