The Obama administration is making a push to get young adults covered on the health insurance marketplaces, both for their own good and that of the marketplaces. The insurance exchanges need healthy people to balance sicker ones in the risk pool.
Despite beefed-up outreach planned for the coming months, several factors may throw a wrench into enrollment plans for young people.
To start with, the transition from children’s Medicaid to adult coverage can be bumpy. Nineteen is the age at which lower-income young adults are generally no longer eligible to be covered as children by the Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program. Options for them include moving to adult Medicaid in states that have expanded coverage to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (about $16,000), or buying a subsidized plan on the health insurance marketplace.
“I’m sure there are states that do transitions really well, but I can’t point to one,” said Shelby Gonzales, a senior health policy analyst who focuses on enrollment and eligibility issues for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “In general, a lot of states are struggling, when [young adults are] being terminated from Medicaid, with getting them on a pathway that’s smooth to the marketplace.”
The transition to adult Medicaid can also be problematic. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have expanded coverage, and it’s available for some of these young adults, she said.
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