September 24, 2010

Health care reform kicks in, broadens coverage for dependents to age 26

Source: NYSUT Communications

As part of national health care reform enacted earlier this year, one change that took effect Sept. 23 will benefit many young adults who previously were unable to afford insurance.

Adult children up to age 26 will have access to health insurance coverage on their family's plan beginning with the next plan renewal date. For Empire Plan participants, that date is Jan. 1. For health plans that renew next July, for instance, the effective date would be July 1.

Adult children can be covered to age 26 regardless of student status, financial dependence or residence; the cost is incorporated as part of the family premium.

Employers may exclude coverage for otherwise eligible adult children if they have an offer of coverage through an employer aside from coverage through a parent.

The new measure applies to both insured and self-insured health plans, but does not apply to dental or vision plans, which are separate.

"NYSUT, the AFL-CIO, AFT and NEA have been strong advocates for this health care reform," said NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue, who oversees health care issues for the union. "This group that will benefit from this provision represents the largest group of uninsured."

Plan sponsors must host a one-time 30-day open enrollment period when the plan renews. For details, contact your human resources department.