The percentage of young American adults between the ages of 18-25 without health insurance decreased over the past year, while the percentage of adults over 26 without insurance increased, according to Gallup.

health insurance by age group

The main reason young adults are bucking the overall trend is that a provision in the Affordable Care Act allowed individuals under the age of 27 to remain on their parents’ insurance plan. It is one of the better parts of the law and one of the few provisions in the overall law that has already gone into effect instead of waiting until 2014.

While that provision has resulted in tens of thousands more young adults having coverage, overall that improvement has not been large enough to make up for the steady loss of insurance coverage due to high unemployment and rising insurance premiums. The percentage of Americans without insurance has continued to climb since the passage of the law and is now at 17.4 percent among all Americans.

In sharp contrast, notice how consistently few Americans over 65 lack health insurance; most are covered by Medicare or other government-sponsored health plans. This is a reminder that if you want everyone in America to have health insurance, the cheapest and most effective way to achieve it is simple: just have the government directly provide everyone with insurance/coverage through a single-payer system.