Health Insurance for Young Adults, Even After Graduation Day

Posted April 20, 2011

By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services

If you’re a student, getting to your 8:00am biology class on time is difficult. Or maybe it is hard for you to focus in your 3:00pm French literature class. You have to make time to do laundry and study for finals. And don’t you dare forget to call your Mom!

Young adults account for one of the largest groups of uninsured Americans, who are nearly twice as likely to go without health insurance as older adults are. That is because prior to the Affordable Care Act, if you’re a young adult, you had to go off your parent’s plan at 19 or whenever you left school. This left many young adults who decided to complete school or pursue a graduate degree uninsured, without options. As students, you have enough on your minds without having to worry about health insurance coverage. Thanks to the health care law, you can now stay on your parent’s health insurance plan until you are 26.

To help spread the word about this new benefit, I teamed up with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to help educate you, the graduating class of 2011, about your new rights and benefits under the Affordable Care Act.

We sent letters to college and university presidents as well as student body presidents outlining how the Affordable Care Act can help you obtain health coverage. The letter also includes new tools available to help share this information with all students and parents.

These tools include:

  • Universities or student groups can post a new “badge” on their website that automatically links to information about how students can remain on their parents’ health insurance plan. Download the badge by visiting
  • New flyers outlining the new benefits can be distributed to students, and are available for download here on
  • The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education will help colleges or student groups host a session to explain insurance options.
  • Young adults and parents can get information about health coverage for individuals under age 26 on Facebook at:

The need for health insurance doesn’t end graduation day. As my colleague Secretary Duncan said, “working with college and university presidents and student body presidents, we will help more young adults start off their new independent lives with the security of health insurance and knowing they can get the care they need to stay healthy and pursue their dreams.”

So while you might be pulling all-nighters, it won’t be because you are stressing about health insurance coverage. You can focus on your studies and have access to quality health care when you need it. But seriously, don’t forget to call your Mom! We can’t help you with that.


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