Report: Young adults hit hard by loss of employer-sponsored healthcare coverage

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The report found that the proportion of 18- to 24-year-old workers covered through their employer dropped by 12.8 percent over the past 10 years and by 8.5 percent for 25- to 34-year-olds. That's left only 44 percent of those under 25 covered by employers in 2009 (down from 53 percent in 1999), and 56 percent for the older group (down from 68 percent).

The new federal law, however, helped 500,000 18- to 24-year-olds gain coverage in 2010 thanks to its provision requiring health insurers to cover dependents through age 25 on family coverage. The new report points out that this increase "simply made up for the lost coverage from the Great Recession.

"The uninsurance rate for these young adults is still far higher than it was 20 years ago," the report concludes.

The law's coverage expansions should help, the report adds: Almost 8 million currently uninsured young adults are expected to be eligible for Medicaid in 2014, and more than 9 million will be eligible for subsidies to help them purchase private insurance.