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For Immediate Release


Karen Conner,

Press Release

Rate of Uninsured Young Men More Than Doubles by Age 20

Without universal health care, many lose access to care during and after the transition to adulthood.

Building on research showing the importance of health insurance for young adults, the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) reports how common it is for young men to lose Medicaid eligibility and become uninsured during the transition to adulthood. Previous research found that young men who lost Medicaid eligibility at age 19 were more likely to be incarcerated.

The article, Young Men Need More Medicaid, by Shawn Fremstad, Clara Wilson, and Anaïs Goubert, shows that in most states, children in low-income families are eligible for Medicaid until their 19th birthday. What happens after that depends on the state where they live. There are 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid as allowed under the Affordable Care Act. 

Only between 12–13 percent of men in their early 20s have Medicaid coverage. While young men in their early 20s are more likely to have other forms of coverage, these gains offset only about half the decline in Medicaid coverage, so young men’s uninsurance rate more than doubles by age 20. 

“The absence of universal health coverage, and other broadly inclusive social protections, has done considerable harm to boys and men in the United States,” said co-author and CEPR Senior Policy Fellow Shawn Fremstad. “Congress should pass legislation that would create a federal Medicaid program for adults living in states that have yet to expand Medicaid.”


The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

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