Young adults ages 19 to 34 have the highest uninsured health care rates in the country, according to census data — and Nicholas Williams hopes not to enter into that category.
He’s anxious, though. That’s because Williams will turn 26 next month, making him ineligible to remain on his parents’ health insurance plan under Affordable Care Act regulations.
“Twenty-six is the end of the road for me,” Williams said, referring to his current ACA plan. “I’m definitely nervous. … You’re cut off. I’ll be on my own.”
Before implementation of the ACA in 2010, health insurers set the age limit, which varied.
Williams, who lives with his family in East Islip, is frantically job hunting, with multiple interviews lined up, he said. Williams said he has a degree in social studies from St. Francis College and is interested in a job in customer service.
His health insurance needs are not far from his mind, he added, noting he is a Type 1 diabetic, something he said he’s been since he was 15.
“I’m on an insulin pump, and I also have a blood glucose monitoring system that tracks my blood sugar every five minutes. These devices make my life easier. It helps me manage my diabetes,” said Williams, who has worked part time and in temporary jobs that didn’t offer insurance. The cost “is manageable with insurance. I can’t imagine how much that would cost without insurance.”
According to the 2019 American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau released Oct. 26, people ages 19 to 34 were the largest share of uninsured of any age group in the United States, at 15.6%, 0.4 percentage points higher than in 2018. That compares with 5.7% for those under 19, 11.3% for adults ages 35 to 64, and 0.8% for individuals 65 and older in 2019.
And the uninsured share of 26-year-olds was the highest among any single-year age, at 18.3%, which was 3.6 percentage points higher than the uninsured rate for 25-year-olds, the bureau said. Twenty-seven-year-olds had the next-highest uninsured rate, at 17.5%, in 2019.
The census bureau report said, “All adults may receive coverage through their employer, through public coverage or through purchase on the health care marketplace. However, young adults may be less likely to purchase health insurance coverage, and therefore more likely to be uninsured than other age groups.”
Daniel Lloyd, 34, founder and president of Minority Millennials, a grassroots nonprofit that works to represent minorities and millennials in policies, said health insurance coverage is on the minds of many in his group.
“A lot of members are focused on entrepreneurship, and many stay with jobs only because of health insurance,” Lloyd said. “So that impedes their desire to establish their own businesses.”
Lloyd, who also works for the Babylon Industrial Development Agency, recalled how a similar