Affordable Care Act Broadens Insurance Coverage for Behavioral Healthcare for Young Adult


More young adults are receiving treatment for mental health conditions

WASHINGTON — The Affordable Care Act has extended healthcare 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 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 Affordable Care Act’s expansion of insurance coverage to many in this age bracket has also lowered cost barriers to those seeking treatment.  In 2009, 54 percent of young adults not receiving recommended mental health services or substance abuse treatment reported cost as a barrier to getting treatment.  After the implementation of the Affordable Care Act the percent of young adults unable to get treatment due to financial costs dropped – to 44 percent in 2012.

“The expansion of healthcare insurance to this age group is a significant achievement,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde.  “Traditionally young people in this age bracket were the most likely segment of the population to be uninsured – at the same time in their lives that they were increasingly likely to need behavioral health services.  Now many more young people can access the behavioral health care treatment and recovery services they need.”

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.

The full report is available at:
For more information about SAMHSA visit:

To read more on how the Affordable Care Act is helping young adults visit:

Open Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace runs from now through Feb. 15, 2015. to review and compare health plan options today.  Find local help at:  Or call the Federally-facilitated Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855- 889-4325.  Translation services are available.The call is free.



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