The new healthcare reform law requires health insurers to cover adult dependent children until the age of 27. According to the new regulations, they should make that option available to young adults out of college and their families for the first plan year on or after September 23rd.
That is all well and good, but what about this spring’s graduating class? The Class of 2010 would experience a gap in coverage, which can be very problematic. Fortunately, many major health insurance plans are already taking steps to prevent that. They have agreed to extend their coverage in advance. Blue Cross Blue Shield (in several states), Humana, and WellPoint are among those taking part.
In some states, health insurance companies have already been subject to stricter requirements. However, the normal extension is typically until the age of 25.
Premiums will rise for parents. Although those with family health insurance plans will not be subject to an extra fee for adding another dependent, they will have to pay at least a portion of the additional monthly rate. It is unknown whether employers will pick up as much of the tab for adult dependents’ policies as they do for the employee. However, they will probably have to be treated in the same manner as other employee dependents.
Health insurance providers are exempt from offering coverage to young adults with a job that provides health benefits, regardless of the price or quality of said benefits. Large corporations that self-insure are also not required to offer the extension until the beginning of their new plan year, which is often in November or January.
Plans themselves vary on who is eligible for the extensions: United Health only covers those who recently graduated from college, while Aetna will cover everyone who would have aged out of their parents’ coverage on June 1st.
(Image: Nazareth College under CC 3.0)