By: Hayley Clark – Sophomore, Political Science
This year we celebrate – though some may elect to grumble at – the sixth anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The hallmark piece of legislation that’s set to be one of the defining moments in President Barack Obama’s term.
The Obama Administration has dedicated a good amount of time encouraging young people to sign up on healthcare.gov, including an episode of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” with Jerry Seinfeld, this viral video on BuzzFeed, “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis and I’m sure there’s more than a few missing.
Many millennials found President Obama’s cameos to be comical and combined with other ventures, he has earned the informal title of “The Coolest President Ever.” But between selfies and witty quips, his punchlines and, admittedly, contrived plugs for healthcare.gov, something of substance has resonated with the 18-33 age group.
As it currently stands, millennials have outpaced any other generation in enrolling for Marketplace plans. In 2010, according to the CDC, millennials were once the highest uninsured bloc, with rates double the national average. But courtesy of subsidies offsetting the cost of healthcare premiums and granting young adults to remain on their parents’ healthcare plan until they are 26, the number of uninsured millennials have decreased.
The ACA has continued to improve and change the game for the quality of coverage young people are receiving, as well. It is not uncommon to find headlines titled something along the line of “Millennials: Generation Stress” published by Huffington Post. Reported cases of anxiety and depression are unparalleled in numbers compared to any other generation. It just so happens that one of the standards provided by the ACA mandates that mental health services are covered.
The buck doesn’t stop there. Seventy-one percent of millennials believe women should be able to obtain contraceptives. Included, too, in the ACA is no-copay birth control. This allows a broader range of women access to birth control, including younger women who tend to be more vulnerable due to cost.
Even still, amidst all the benefits, cost still stands in the way of young people getting insured. Though, it’s important to note the way the ACA has evolved to address this issue seeing as, due to subsidies, six in 10 young adults can have healthcare for under $100 a month.
It is nice to know that once I graduate, I can focus on finding a job I love or studying in graduate school, rather than compromising in fear of being uninsured. It goes without saying, life as a 20-something is hard, and accessing adequate healthcare is no longer an added struggle, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.