Do you have adult children who lack health insurance?
One provision of the 2010 health reform bill requires insurance companies to allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan up to their 26th birthday.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released details of the new law at: www.hhs.gov/ociio/regulations/adult_child_fact_sheet.html.
Although the required implementation date is Sept. 23, 2010 some companies have volunteered to make this coverage available now. If you have a child about to lose coverage through your health insurance plan (due to college graduation or other), check now – they may be able to continue on your insurance. If not, they may be able to re-enroll during an open enrollment period after September 23.
These young adults can stay on their parents’ plan even if they are married (although their spouse and children will not be covered). The insurance plans must cover these young adults (whether dependents or not, whether living with their parents or not) the same as if they were dependents on their parents’ plan.
The cost of all this? Very hard to say. My own twenty-something children stand to gain (perhaps), but it’s unlikely costs won’t increase. Why wouldn’t it cost more to cover more people? And who will pay?
One reason the current administration wants to include these young adults in mandated programs is to increase insurance revenue from healthy individuals to subsidize payments for older, less healthy people. Doesn’t that mean young people will pay more, on average, toward health expenses than if they didn’t have health insurance?
Although on one hand this sounds like a good program, I expect it will contribute to the prolonged adolescence of America’s youth. Whatever happened to becoming an adult at age 18? At 21?
I do not believe that this plan will ultimately save America any money. But it may save you or your kids something, at least for now, at least until America goes broke completely. Maybe it will decrease the number of young people on welfare – maybe it will swell the rolls as insurance costs increase and employers decide to cut back on employee benefits.
Ultimately it makes little if any sense to tie health insurance to employment. That’s like saying if you work at MegaMart, you’ll receive car insurance coverage as long as you work there. Does that compute? Not to me.
Savings to America if millions of young adults remain on their parents’ insurance:
$1, but I’m being optimistic
© Cynthia J Koelker, MD – All rights reserved