Some Insurers To Extend Insurance to Young Adults Prior to Mandate
On Monday, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, UnitedHealthcare and WellPoint announced that they will comply with a provision of the new health reform law that allows U.S. residents to stay on their parents' insurance plans until age 26 before it takes effect in September, USA Today reports.
Humana and UnitedHealthcare immediately will allow young adults to remain on their parents' insurance, while policy changes at WellPoint will permit young adults to do so beginning June 1. Kaiser plans to extend coverage before September but has not yet chosen a date.
It is unclear whether large corporate employers who self-fund their health coverage and use insurers only as plan administrators also will extend coverage to young adults before the provision is scheduled to take effect (Young, USA Today, 4/20).
It also is unclear what defines young adults as dependents. According to reform legislation, the only stipulation for people up to age 26 to join their parent's plan is that individuals cannot be married (Clews, CongressDaily, 4/19).
The insurers do not plan to provide early coverage to young adults who already have aged past current thresholds for their parents' policies. These individuals will have to wait until the provision takes effect in September and then re-enroll (USA Today, 4/20).
Sebelius Appeals to Other Insurers
On Monday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter to other insurers in an attempt to persuade them to follow suit, stating that there would be substantial benefits to allowing young adults to continue on their parents' insurance after graduating from college, CQ HealthBeat reports.
Sebelius wrote that keeping individuals on their parents' plans "would enable young, overwhelmingly healthy people, who will not engender large health care costs, to stay in the insurance pool and retain important insurance coverage." She continued, "Taking this step will also save money for your companies by avoiding the administrative costs of disenrolling and then re-enrolling young adults" (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 4/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.