My daughter is graduating from college next month and I was told by human resources she will no longer be eligible for health insurance coverage under my group insurance plan. I understand the new health insurance law requires coverage up to age 26. Can I keep her on my plan?
Coverage for dependent children varies from plan to plan, but insurance companies or employers typically allow coverage up to age 19, extended to age 24 for full- time students. If your plan has a similar provision, your daughter's coverage may end when she's no longer going to school full time. Your plan booklet or website will have the specifics for your situation.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires health insurance plans that include dependent coverage to cover adult children up to age 26. However, it is not effective until plan years beginning September 23, 2010. The plan year starts at the renewal date of your plan, so it may be later than September 23. Many group plans, for example, start at the beginning of the year, so this provision would not be effective until January 1, 2011. Again, your plan booklet or website should indicate when the plan year begins.
Some insurance companies have announced they are going to extend the time immediately, so we suggest you start by calling your insurer to find out if they're going to do so.
If they are not planning to start early, your daughter may want to read our tips for "Insurance after college" at: http://insurance.oregon.gov/consumer/consumer-tips/4845-15_after-college.pdf.
To learn more about health care reforms, visit: HealthCare.gov
Finally, our insurance consumer advocates can help you understand the various ways your daughter can remain insured, especially if she has a pre-existing health condition. Call (888) 877-4894 or 503-947-7984 in the Salem area. E-mail your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org