Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined Protect Our Care and Young Invincibles to discuss how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is benefiting young people across the nation by providing access to more affordable health coverage. During the call, speakers discussed how the ACA is working to benefit young Americans, and how President Biden and Democrats in Congress are protecting and expanding these benefits. Right now, four out of five ACA enrollees can find coverage for $10 or less per month. Open enrollment is set to close on January 16, with some exceptions for state-run marketplaces.
According to the report, the ACA has lowered costs and made coverage more available to young people through policies including Medicaid expansion, affordable Marketplace coverage, and the requirement that insurers must allow people up to age 26 to stay on their parent’s health plan. This has expanded young people’s access to essential services like mental health care. In 2023, enrollment in the ACA Marketplaces reached an all-time high, with 15.7 million Americans receiving coverage. More than one in four, or 4.1 million of those enrolled in Marketplace coverage were between the ages of 18 and 34.
“Over a decade ago, when we passed the Affordable Care Act, I was proud to champion the provision that for the first time allowed young people to stay on their parent’s insurance until 26 and fight for Americans who were previously locked out of insurance because of pre-existing conditions,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). “There’s more work to do, but as we enter another record-breaking year for enrollment in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, we’re reminded of the difference this historic step forward is making for millions of Americans, including young people who are benefitting every day from accessible mental health, reproductive, and primary care. Our work is making a difference.”
“Medicaid expansion, the ability to stay on their parents’ coverage until age 26, and the creation of the ACA marketplaces have all provided more opportunities for young people to enroll in coverage,” said Mina Schultz, Health Policy and Advocacy Manager at Young Invincibles. “The financial help available to lower the monthly cost of coverage has put coverage within reach for millions. And importantly, with half of young adults living with a mental health condition, mental health care has never been more accessible. Thus far, in the 11th annual ACA marketplace open enrollment period, there has been a record number of 20 million people enrolled in coverage. This report is important, now more than ever, to lift up the experiences of young people in the health care system as we work ever more towards equitable, accessible, and affordable health care for all.”
“The Affordable Care Act has been revolutionary for young people, ” said Alex Soltany, advocate. “For young adults, this access to health coverage is essential and can be life or death. We never think we’re going to need coverage but that’s why having health insurance coverage is so important. A couple of years ago, a close friend of mine unexpectedly suffered a broken collarbone while playing sports. In college, he was covered under his university student health plan but upon graduation, he lost that coverage. He didn’t qualify for employer-sponsored insurance and went looking for insurance on his own. His decision to purchase health insurance through the ACA marketplace saved him from thousands of dollars in medical debt he would have incurred from ambulance, hospital, and surgical fees. If he had been uninsured, he would have been unable to afford his monthly rent.”
“My 15-year-old brother and I are fortunate to have never known a time in which we’ve had to worry about covering our health care costs, thanks to the trailblazing efforts of Senator Baldwin and President Obama,” said Chandra Chouhan, advocate. “We must realize one very important thing – the Affordable Care Act is about more than coverage. It’s about preserving the health and well-being of all Americans so we can pursue our shared freedoms and dreams. When I hear about Donald Trump and Wisconsin Republicans threatening to terminate the ACA without any regard for the tens of millions of Americans who depend on it, I feel scared to witness such a blatant disregard for human life. We must take action to reelect leaders like Senator Baldwin, who are committed to preserving and expanding the ACA.”
“The Affordable Care Act has been a game-changer for young people across the nation, and the impact of the health care law only continues to grow as President Biden and Democrats work to drive down costs,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Our report finds that millions of young people have health insurance because of the ACA, which has helped more people receive critical services like mental health and addiction treatment, cancer screenings, and prenatal care. But the ACA is under relentless attack from Republicans and in the courts. Donald Trump has promised repeatedly that if he’s elected, he will eliminate the Affordable Care Act. So not only must we celebrate the accomplishments of the Affordable Care Act, but we must remain ever vigilant in protecting it from its enemies as more Americans rely on it. ”