Older Children Allowed on Parents’ Health Plans
A "growing number of states" have extended the time children can remain on their parents' health insurance plans out of concern "that a healthy -- and profitable -- segment of the population is dropping out of the insurance pool," the New York Times reports.
About 30% of adults ages 18 to 24 and more than 25% of adults ages 25 to 34 are uninsured, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau in August. Analysts say the rise of uninsured young adults is the product of "two main economic forces": fewer jobs that offer full benefits, "which disproportionately affects the newest workers," and "the rising cost of premiums, whether shared with an employer or paid individually, [that] makes insurance less attractive to a relatively healthy population," the Times reports.
About half of all states have considered passing laws to extend coverage to young adults, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Delaware, Rhode Island and New Jersey have passed such laws, while New York and Connecticut have legislation that is being considered in committees.
Some of the laws extending coverage to adult children carry requirements that they be full-time students, reside in the state of coverage, live with their parents or be unmarried. Some laws also allow insurers to charge higher premiums to extend coverage.
Laura Tobler, a health policy analyst for NCSL, said states are "looking for ways to reach out to these folks and doing it in the least expensive way possible."
Leo Tokar, vice president for marketing and sales for Kaiser Permanente Colorado, said that the law in Colorado has created a "perverse incentive" for companies to reduce health benefits, adding, "Our opinion is it was absolutely the right direction to go, but it was the wrong way to go about doing it" (Lee, New York Times, 9/17).