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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a health care reform law that was enacted on March 23, 2010. The aim of it was to improve coverage to the people through a combination of subsidies, Medicaid expansion, and a new insurance exchange (Gruber, 2011). Although a majority of the law did not take effect until 2014, one part of it – a dependent coverage provision – took effect on September 23, 2010. This provision allowed children to remain on the parent’s health insurance until they turn 26 years of age. Before this provision, insurers normally dropped children from that plan if the dependent was not a student at age 19 and student dependent at age 23 (Andersn et al., 2014).
The period before the ACA, many states had some form of dependent coverage for young adults. Most of these state laws had requirement for children up to ages 26, but had additional criteria such as being a full-time student and must be living with parents. Another thing to know is that these state laws do not even apply to self-funded programs, such as private sector workers with employer-provided health insurances (Monheit et al., 2011). It is due to this that there is only small increase in dependent coverage and a large decrease in young adults with insurance policies. In contrast, the ACA provision applies to all children under the age of 26 and all private insurances. This dramatically affected young adults across the nation, including states with existing dependent law (Monheit et al., 2011).

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