Affordable Care Act broadens insurance coverage for behavioral healthcare for young adults

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The Affordable Care Act has extended health care coverage to many young adults (ages 19 to 26) and, as a result, has expanded their access to behavioral healthcare services according to a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The study shows that since the Affordable Care Act allowed for young people in this age bracket to be covered as dependents under their parents’ health insurance policies, coverage rates for this age group have risen from of 70.2 percent in 2010 to 76.6 percent in 2012.    

This expanded coverage has resulted in a significant rise in the percentage of young adults receiving mental health services in the past year – from 10.9 percent in 2010 to 11.9 percent in 2012. The study shows that people in this age group who were insured were nearly twice as likely to receive mental health treatment as those without health insurance (13.5 percent versus 6.7 percent).  

The report, entitled Trends in Insurance Coverage and Treatment Utilization by Young Adults, is based on data from SAMHSA’s 2005 to 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports. SAMHSA’s NSDUH report is a scientifically conducted annual survey of approximately 67,500 people throughout the country, aged 12 and older. Because of its statistical power, it is a primary source of statistical information on the scope and nature of many substance abuse and mental health issues affecting the nation.

For more information, contact the SAMHSA Press Office at 240-276-2130.

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