Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Tania Barham


The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, and immediately enacted a provision that allowed young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26. In my thesis, I estimate the impact of this provision on access to insurance, and health behaviors of the young. Health behaviors include primary care visits, vaccinations, and emergency room visits. I use a difference-in-differences approach using young adults aged 23-25 as a treatment group and adults aged 27-29 as a comparison group. The expansion provision of the bill led to higher rates of insurance coverage for young adults. There were no statistically significant effects on preventative or primary health care measures in the full sample. Minorities and those without college degrees experienced the highest increases in insurance coverage.