The study, published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, included data from more than 26,000 adults between the ages of 19 and 25 taken from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey for 2002-11.
Researchers found that since the provision went into effect, the percentage of 19- to 25-year-olds who reported having health coverage increased from 63% to 69%. The same group had no significant change in medical utilization after implementation of the law, but the percentage of those who self-reported being in excellent physical health rose from 27% before September 2010 to 31% after. Also, the percentage of those who reported being in excellent mental health went up from 37% prior to the law to 39% afterward.
The study group also reported an 18% decline in annual out-of-pocket expenses after the provision went into effect, down from a per person average of $546.11 to $490.
“The dependent coverage provision was associated with improved self-reported health and protection against medical costs among adults aged 19 to 25 years compared with older adults unaffected by the law,” the report concluded.
Researchers did note that one of the limitations to the study was the length of the study period, which only examined one year past implementation.
Expansion of dependent coverage has been considered by many to be one of the more successful, noncontroversial aspects of the health law, with estimates that more than 7 million young adults would likely have not been able to enroll or stay on their parents’ health plan prior to ACA, according to an August 2013 report from the Commonwealth Fund.
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