Poll: Significantly Fewer U.S. 18- to 25-Year-Olds Uninsured

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First a little bit of good news on health insurance in the United States.

The Affordable Care Act, which allows children as old as 26 to remain on their parents’ health care insurance plans appears have an immediate effect on the number of Americans reporting they have health insurance, according to a recent survey by Gallup. Since the Affordable Care Act went into effect in September 2010, the percentage of 18- to 25-year-olds reporting being uninsured declined significantly by four percentage points.

Gallup and Healthways track adults’ health insurance coverage daily in the U.S. as part of its Well-Being Index. The uninsured rate increased in the fourth quarter of 2008 during the financial crisis, and has remained higher since, according to Gallup.

Gallup insurance chart

Chart by Gallup

Now for the not so goods news.

The percentage of uninsured 26- to 64-year-olds continues to increase, up to 19.9% in the second quarter of 2011. Overall, 17.4% of Americans were uninsured during the second quarter of 2011.

Gallup does add an asterisk to this survey.

Gallup says it included more cell phone-only survey respondents in the U.S. beginning April 1.

“Thus, some of the increase in the uninsured could reflect the greater representation of cell phone-only respondents — who tend to be younger — in Gallup samples,” the report’s author, Elizabeth Mendes, wrote. Gallup does not expect the change in survey methods to affect the estimates of insurance rates among specific age groups.”

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