Study: Insurance Doesn’t Keep Young Adults From Higher Health Costs, ER Visits

Buying health insurance doesn’t really change what young adults spend on out-of-pocket on health care over the course of a year, Kaiser Health News reports.

A Journal of Adolescent Health analysis of 2009 federal data on patient spending found that young adults who were insured at least part of the year had higher emergency room costs than those who were uninsured the entire year.

Kaiser Health News noted that because the study looked only at records from 2009, it doesn’t factor in that young adults can still stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26 and can now receive subsidies for their insurance costs.

But not only are insurance companies charging even higher rates to adults who continue to use their parents’ health insurance. Premiums for young adults are rising dramatically under the new health care law — by design.

The proportion of young adults in Obamacare exchanges has been so controversial because youths, who are healthier and less likely to need costly medical care, are needed to pay higher premiums to contribute to older and sicker exchange customers.

But with young adults paying more for being insured before Obamacare, they’re even less likely to want to purchase health insurance now that the health care law has pushed up young adults’ premiums disproportionately.