Triage the Unexpected: Young Adults See Value in Health Insurance!

KFF AYA Health Insurance Chartby Katie Pausic, Triage Cancer Intern

With the ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll looked to see how young adults, the uninsured, and those with pre-existing medical conditions react towards health care reforms. The poll found  that health insurance is valued among the majority of Americans; with 87% saying that insurance is “very important,” and 88% of Americans reporting that insurance is “something [they] need.”


A main focus of the ACA is to expand health insurance to more people in the United States, and one specific group that the ACA wants to reach is young adults.  The Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found that more than seven in ten young adults believe that having health insurance is “very important” and feel that it is worth the expense.  This is surprising considering that many believed that young adults would be the most resistant to the ACA.  When it comes to health care, the biggest fear among young adults is that they will not be able to afford their medical bills if they found out they had a serious illness or if they were involved in a serious accident.

Another group that this poll focuses on is the uninsured.  Like young adults, the majority of those who are uninsured also believe that it is “very important” to have health insurance. The biggest obstacle that the uninsured come up against when it comes to insurance is the cost to have it.  Four out of ten uninsured individuals said that health insurance is too expensive, and that is why they are not insured.  Also, those who are uninsured are twice as likely to be concerned about not being able to pay for both routine and catastrophic medical bills.

Individuals with pre-existing conditions will also be affected by the ACA in 2014.  Many of those with pre-existing conditions have had trouble obtaining and keeping health insurance, but under the ACA, those with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage.

The Kaiser Health June Tracking Poll also found out that “unfavorable views of the law still outnumber favorable ones,” with 43% against the ACA and 35% in favor.  It is noteworthy that those who have unfavorable views toward the ACA do because it does not “go far enough to change the health insurance and health care system.”

Even though 40% of Americans do not believe the ACA will have much impact on their own families, the majority do see how the law will benefit the uninsured and those with pre-existing conditions.  The new provisions in the ACA will be significantly helpful to the cancer community. Due to the new “guaranteed issue” provision, those who have cancer or who have had cancer in the past cannot be denied health insurance coverage AND they cannot be charged more because of their health status or health history.  In addition, young adults can now stay on their parent’s insurance until the age of 26, no matter if they have a pre-existing condition, are a full-time student, or a dependent under IRS standards. With the new provisions of the ACA going into effect in 2014, many individuals and families will finally have access to healthcare.

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