The percentage of young adults with health insurance in 2011 spiked after the Affordable Care Act allowed parents to keep their children on plans longer according to a new report from the U. S. Census.

The news was one of the few bright spots in the latest American Community Survey, which also revealed that the poverty rate grew slightly to almost 16 percent countrywide. (There were notable exceptions to the income drop in the Washington region.)

The percentage of uninsured dropped for the first time in four years among the selected representative sample of America researchers tracked. The increase was especially pronounced for 19- to 25-year-olds.

(Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

In this region, even greater percentages of young adults reported being insured in 2011. In the District, almost 92 percent were insured, up from 87.5 percent in 2009. In Maryland, it was 82 percent compared to 75 percent. In Virginia, it was 75.5 percent compared to 73.5 percent.

The numbers suggest that many parents — estimates are in the 2.5 million range — took advantage of the Care Act provision that allows them to keep children on their insurance plans until age 26.

This was not wholly unexpected, since that allowance remains one of the most popular parts of the controversial law and one of the elements that even those without children thought would be beneficial.

In June, a Kaiser survey found that only 23 percent of Americans thought the law would impact them positively, but when asked which groups of Americans would benefit most, respondents most often chose children and young adults.

The law, of course, has become a central point of debate in the presidential campaign. With so many American parents either already extending coverage or planning to, however, it’s hard to see how a rollback on coverage extensions would get popular traction.

What do you think of this provision?

Have you extended coverage for your child? What would have been the alternative?

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