How the Affordable Care Act will affect young adults

COLUMBIA (WACH) - We have all heard how the Affordable Care Act is affecting adults.

But what about a group we see everywhere here in Columbia?

College students.

"Currently, on the University of South Carolina campus, we have about 69% of our students on their parents' health insurance." says Dr. Deborah Beck, the Executive Director of Student Health Services at USC.

And the good news is, it can stay that way.

The Affordable Care Act allows young adults under the age of 26 to stay on their parents' health insurance plans.

But not all students are covered by their parents.

"About 12% are on their own personal plan. About 13% of our students are on our student sponsored health insurance plan and about 6% of our campus is without health insurance." explains Beck.

So the "6%" will be the ones affected by the Affordable Care Act, just like adults in the same boat.

"Students that will be looking for coverage will be those that have no health insurance because they'll be much like all other Americans. They will be penalized if they don't have the health insurance. So we don't believe it will affect a huge percentage of our students because most of them can now stay on their parents' insurance until they're 26." Beck states.

But if you are 26 and without health insurance, you do have options.

Private health insurance companies that cover most Americans have volunteered to provide coverage for young adults who don't currently have insurance.

Young adults can qualify for an open enrollment period to join their parents' family plan or policy.

However, most young adults will be able to simply stay on their parents' insurance until the age of 26.

Allowing young adults to stay on their parents' health insurance until the age of 26 not only helps students, but also young adults who have recently graduated and are currenlty on the hunt for a job.

Young adults like Denton Kitchell.

"I am 24 years old. I just graduated this past may and I'm a part time employee and looking for full time employment." says Kitchell.

And Denton does not have his own individual insurance plan.

"I am currently under 26 years old, so I'm currently on my parents' health insurance plan. So I really don't know that much about it. I just know I'm covered by them." Kitchell explains.

So is he planning on checking out the online health exchange any time soon?

"Probably not until I turn 26. I'm pretty happy with them taking care of me right now." concludes Kitchell.

So even with all the heat the Affordable Care Act has taken in the public arena, it does seem to be helping young adults stay cool while they are trying to get their professional lives going.