Well no doubt we see and hear a lot of negative coverage of the California health insurance industry these days. However, we are pleased to note that – on the heels of the passage of Health Reform legislation, The Affordable Care Act – leading California health insurance companies like Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Aetna and others almost immediately stepped up and said that they would join in the spirit of the passage of the new legislation and start offering health insurance coverage for young adults under the age of 26 – via parents’ new and existing individual and group health plans – right now and not wait until the effective date that the legislation was supposed to take effect: September 23, 2010.
This would have, of course, ensured that many young adults would be able to continue on their parents’ plans, keep vital health care coverage, and avoid the precarious health and financial dangers that result from being uninsured in this country.
There’s one problem, however: The way the new legislation is written, coverage extension is effective for the first plan year on or after that September 23rd date. For most employer plans, the new plan year doesn’t start until January 1, 2011. Since most employer plans are on a calendar-year cycle, this requirement will take effect January 1, 2011. In other words: Your employer may not be obligated to extend coverage to your adult children until the start of next year.
What this means to you: If your family has a California health plan you purchase directly from one of the health insurers that has committed to offering coverage immediately as described above, you should have already started taking advantage of this great feature of Health Reform. If, however, your family’s health coverage comes by way of your employer, you should immediately contact your company’s HR department and find out what, if any, plans they have underway to offer health insurance coverage to your children at an earlier date here in 2010. If your employer is going to have an earlier or ‘custom’ open enrollment period for the young adult children of their employees, be on the lookout for it.
There are other considerations you should have under review: If possible, find out as early as possible just how much keeping your children on your health plan will cost in the way of increased premiums. You might be surprised to find out that the cost of a stand-alone individual California health plan for your son or daughter might actually be the more cost-efficient approach to making certain your child has health coverage. The earlier you find out, the more time you give yourself to shop for possible alternatives.
Finally: If it turns out your child will have to wait until January 1, 2011 for health coverage to (re)start, that is too long for comfort in our book. Please reach out to a Vitality Health Insurance professional and find out what affordable California health insurance plan options are available to cover your young adult child during this interim period. The cost of a California health plan for a young, healthy California resident can be surprisingly affordable and can offer important plan benefits such as preventive care exams, prescription drug benefits, emergency room, and hospitalization coverage. The health and financial risks of going without health insurance – even for what seems like a brief time – are too great. Reach out to us today for more information and California health plan quotes for your child: As always; our careful, considerate consultative services and quotes are free.