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Young man in cap and gown getting job offers.
The good Obamacare news just doesn't stop rolling in. A new study [$$$] in the Journal of Health Economics looked at what happens to young people who can stay on their parents' insurance plans while starting their professional lives, and finds far-reaching benefits. Reporting on the study, Business Insider explains the study and its findings.

Thirty-five states had adopted similar provisions previous to Obamacare between 1995-2010, in which people could stay on their parents' plans from age 24 up to 30. They looked at the results for those people.

The study determined the provision offers young adults more flexibility making both educational and work choices earlier in their lives. This flexibility leads to better employment matches for new workers entering the labor force. It also leads to higher overall wages, according to the study. […]

Based on the provision's effect in those states and the fact more employers will have to provide coverage nationally under the Affordable Care Act, the study estimates the provision will increase wages by an average of 3.5% to 4.6% for people who were 18 or younger when the health-care overhaul passed.

The added flexibility in having health insurance benefited young people in a variety of ways, the study finds. Those who decide to attend college at later ages can save money—many colleges require health insurance, and staying on the family plan is a cheaper way to do that. But it also allows people more time in college or the opportunity to go on to graduate school. They aren't forced out into the job market to try to find employment with health insurance.

They also identify the end of "job-lock," a benefit of the law for people of all ages who won't be forced to remain in a job they might not like or that doesn't provide real advancement just for the health insurance. For younger people, it gives them the opportunity to find a better job match or possibly a higher-paying one.

Then there's what the researchers call the "compensating differential theory," which basically says that employer-based health insurance holds down wages, because benefits are considered part of compensation, younger people will have the opportunity to get into jobs that offer higher wages but not health insurance. They found, based on the states they reviewed, that women see a gain of about 3.1 percent in their wages from this effect while they have access to their parents' health insurance, and that increase continues even after they age out of that coverage. The increase for men is about 1.6 percent.

In a job market this tough for people entering it for the first time, all this added flexibility—and higher wages!—is only good. Like pretty much everything else that's been reported about Obamacare in the past few months. No wonder all that Republican repeal talk is drying up.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed May 14, 2014 at 11:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by Good News, Obamacare Saves Lives, and Daily Kos.

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