Two years after SCOTUS upheld Obamacare, people keep getting covered — including young adults

People are still signing up thanks to ongoing Marketplace enrollment opportunities and Medicaid expansion.

June 28 marks the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As of June 27, an estimated 8.6 million people had signed up for a qualified health plan, with another 6.4 to 8.6 million signing up for Medicaid and CHIP, according to Eclectablog contributor Charles Gaba at ACASignups.net.

In fact, as Charles points out, Americans continue enrolling during the “off-season,” if they have a qualifying life event such as a change in jobs, marital status or state of residence.

Life changes fast when you’re young — and young people are among those who are still enrolling. Just ask 23-year-old Brandon Bonebrake, who recently got covered under the Healthy Michigan Plan, Michigan’s version of Medicaid expansion.

A student at Michigan State University, Bonebrake hasn’t had insurance the last couple of years because his mother didn’t have insurance. But what he did have was a dislocated shoulder, a wrestling injury that wasn’t getting any better on its own.

The doctors told me I’d torn the cup that holds in my shoulder joint, and if I didn’t get surgery my ability to move my shoulder would decrease as I got older. Sometimes it would come out of the socket while I was wiping down tables at work and it was really painful. But the surgery would cost $26,000 and there’s no way I could afford that.

Because Bonebrake is a full-time student who is paying his way through school by working at a restaurant, his income is low enough to qualify him for the Healthy Michigan Plan, which has ongoing open enrollment. He had the surgery and is recovering nicely — and everything from the procedure through physical therapy is covered.

Although his shoulder surgery was good motivation to get covered, Bonebrake says he would have done it regardless.

It’s funny when people say young people don’t want health insurance, because I think people need it even more when they’re young. Our lifestyles are more spontaneous and irresponsible. A lot of my friends are in their 20s and we’re all concerned about health insurance. We realize we need it and it’s amazing that we don’t have to worry about getting a job with insurance. We have another option.

As an aspiring stand-up comic, Bonebrake knows what’s funny. In fact, when he performs he talks about how having health insurance has changed his life.

“I live life more dangerously,” he jokes. “I now eat pizza rolls straight out of the microwave.”

Nik Koehler, a graduate student at Michigan State University, reached out to celebrate everything the ACA means to him — including the ability to enroll for coverage as soon as he needs it, instead of waiting until open enrollment begins again on November 15.

As we approach the anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I want to express how thankful I am that the promise of quality, affordable health coverage for millions of Americans was secured. Consumers across the country, including young adults like me, breathed a sigh of relief when the decision was announced two years ago this month.

Because of the ACA, I have been able to stay on my parents’ insurance plan through age 26. When I turn 26 in October I will be able to shop on the Marketplace for a plan that suits me best. Since my birthday is before open enrollment begins on November 15, this current special enrollment period allows me to enroll ahead of time so I never have a gap in coverage. Better yet, my modest income as a graduate student will likely qualify me for significant financial help paying for my plan. Young adults deserve comprehensive health insurance at an affordable rate, especially as we continue our education or start our careers.

Could you be eligible to enroll or change your plan during the special enrollment period, regardless of your age? Visit Healthcare.gov to find out. Or learn more about the Healthy Michigan Plan HERE.

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  • judyms9

    With these growing enrollment numbers it’s safe to assume some folks on the right are quietly enrolling or having their kids and grandkids enroll with the hopes that the former lathering about it will continue to be rinsed away by reality.
    Now that Ann Coulter and her crowd are calling soccer socialism and health care insurance companies doing just dandy on the stock market, perhaps they will move on to other imagined threats, scandals, sins, and slights. Keep these goodnews stories coming because they are part of the real progress being made.

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