'The Impact of PPACA on Employment-Based Health Coverage of Adult Children to Age 26,' and 'Spending Adjustments Made By Older Americans to Save Money'

January 2012, Vol. 33, No. 1
Paperback, 16 pp.
PDF, 759 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2012

Download Notes PDF pdf

Executive Summary

The Impact of PPACA on Employment-Based Health Coverage of Adult Children to Age 26


MANDATE FOR COVERING ADULT CHILDREN: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) enacted March 23, 2010, requires that group health plans and insurers make dependent coverage available for children until they attain the age of 26, regardless of tax or student status, or dependent status as it relates to financial support. The mandate to offer coverage to adult children ages 19?25 took effect for policy years that begin on or after Sept. 23, 2010, but since January is the beginning of the plan year for most employment-based health plans, many insurers adopted the requirements of the law before the effective date.


AVAILABLE DATA: This report reviews the evidence as to whether the mandate to extend coverage to adult children had an effect on the percentage of young adults with coverage in late 2010 and early 2011. Data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) and Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) are examined, as well as data from the Center for Disease Control’s National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).


PPACA HAS INCREASED COVERAGE: The data from these three surveys suggest that the PPACA’s coverage mandate has resulted in an increase in the percentage of young adults with employment-based health coverage as a dependent.


Spending Adjustments Made By Older Americans to Save Money


INVOLUNTARY SPENDING ADJUSTMENTS: Data from the 2009 Internet Survey of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) show that more than 1 in 5 (21.5 percent) of those aged 50 or above made prescription drug changes such as switching to cheaper generic drugs, getting free samples, stopping pills or reducing dosages, and nearly as many (19.4 percent) skipped or postponed doctor appointments to save money.


LESS HEALTHY DO MORE ADJUSTMENTS: Among those in (self-reported) poor health, 29.9 percent made prescription drug changes and 36.5 percent skipped or postponed doctor appointments to save money. For those in excellent health, the comparable numbers were 15.3 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively.


SINGLE WOMEN AND BLACKS ADJUST MOST: Among different demographic groups, single women and blacks had the highest involuntary spending adjustments: 22.8 percent and 24.8 percent of single women made prescription drug changes and skipped or postponed doctor appointments to save money. Similar numbers for blacks were 25.9 percent and 27.3 percent, respectively.