Health Reform and Adolescents/Young Adults


Adolescence is an important developmental period to promote optimal health and prevent risky behaviors which can place adolescents at risk for lifelong health problems. While many adolescents have health insurance, a significant proportion of adolescents lack health care coverage and the number of adolescents with private insurance in declining. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) presents a significant opportunity for state maternal and child health programs and their partners to improve the health care delivery system for adolescents. Additionally, the ACA uniquely positions state programs to promote adolescent health and ensure adolescents have access to quality health care.

Health Reform for Adolescents and Young Adults in the States

Many states are seeking to address the needs of adolescents and young adults by utilizing health reform mechanisms enabled by the ACA.  Such exemplary states are highlighted below:

2013 AMCHP Conference

At the 2013 AMCHP Annual Conference, two sessions sought to specifically address health reform for adolescents and young adults.

On February 9th, the session "Health Reform: Supporting Adolescent and Young Adult Health in 2014 and Beyond"  included presentations and discussions regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), its key provisions, and what's to come in the next year for adolescents and young adults. The session featured a panel of state agency experts who shared experiences with addressing adolescents and young adults during health reform in their states.  Presentation materials from this session are posted below:

Key Resources

Health Reform: What's in it for Adolescents? The Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs. October 2010.

Issue Brief: Adolescent Health: Coverage and Access to Care. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. October 2011.

Issue Brief: Health Reform and Adolescents. Fox HB & McManus MA. June 2009.