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PPACA Implementation Pending, Health Insurance Coverage Gaps Persist

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 26, 2013

Nearly half of all working-age adults, about 84 million people, went without health insurance at some point in 2012 and another 30 million people had out-of-pocket costs that were so high, they were underinsured, a survey released by The Commonwealth Fund shows.

The results found in the survey, Insuring the Future : Current Trends in Health Coverage and the Effects of Implementing the Affordable Care Act, were not all bad, however. For example, the proportion of adults ages 19–25 who were uninsured fell from 48% percent to 41% between 2010 and 2012, reversing a near decade-long increase in uninsured rates for that age group.

"This new report reveals some good and unprecedented news; a decline in the number of young adults who are uninsured, most likely due to the [Patient Protection and] Affordable Care Act's requirement that children under age 26 be allowed to join or remain on their parents health plan," The Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal, MD, said Thursday at a teleconference with reporters.

"But overall, the survey shows the continuation of the bad news that sparked the moves to reform our dysfunctional healthcare system. To begin with, large numbers of uninsured Americans—millions—are facing problems getting the help they need. They are financially squeezed by the burdens of high deductibles and far too many Americans are hampered by medical debt. These findings point clearly to the need to move forward with implementation of the law," Blumenthal says.

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