Adding Grads to Parents' Health Care Plan Could be Costly


After the commencement speeches are over, the new grads face the job hunt and maybe a gap in health coverage, say National Public Radio (NPR). 

Starting in September, the new health law will let adult children ride on their folks' coverage until they turn 26.  But a bunch of insurers, prodded by the feds, have agreed to start sooner, so there's no lapse for this year's graduates.  If a health plan offers dependent coverage, then it will have to offer the extension of coverage, too, under interim regulations just put out by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

But, as the Washington Post notes, there's nothing stopping insurers from charging a whole lot more for families who buy coverage on the individual market and whose children have preexisting conditions: 

  • In 2014, the new health law won't let insurers levy higher premiums for people with preexisting conditions.
  • Right now, HHS figures 2.4 million young adults might qualify for the extension on their parents plans.
  • The department isn't sure how many will sign up, but its middle-of-the-road estimate would be 1.24 million in 2011.  

How much will the average premium run?  About $3,380 per person for group plans and about $2,360 for families buying plans on the individual market in 2011, HHS estimates. 

Source: Scott Hensley, "Adding Some Grads To Parents' Health Plans Could Be Costly," National Public Radio, May 11, 2010. 

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