KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Some Health Insurers Move To Cover Kids Up To Age 26 Even Earlier Than Law Requires

Insurers will move even more quickly than required to keep young adults on their parents insurance plan, USA Today reports. "UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and WellPoint said they will put into effect some provisions of the new health care law ahead of schedule to let adult children stay on parents' plans until age 26." The reason for moving earlier than the Sept. 23 deadline? "[T]he companies said they are changing rules now to prevent young adults from falling into a coverage gap" (Young, 4/20).

Dow Jones Newswires/The Wall Street Journal: "Without early action by health insurers, many graduating college students could face a coverage gap this summer, until the new provision goes into effect." Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the government is "working hard with other insurers on similar proposals." But, Cigna, Aetna, and Coventry Health Care officials either did not yet have an answer or did not reply to Dow Jones' questions (Wisenberg Brin, 4/19). 

The Associated Press: The insurers that are ready to act have different plans for implementing the change. UnitedHealth "said its extension starts immediately and extends coverage that graduating college students currently have from their parents until the health care reform provision takes effect. ... WellPoint, which is based in Indianapolis, said its extension starts June 1 and will extend coverage to all dependents" (4/19).

The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal: A Humana executive said, "We believe this decision will provide not just extended health insurance coverage but also some peace of mind for our Humana members and their adult children who are Humana members" (4/19).

NPR: "Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and her department reached out to see if insurers would move quickly on the issue (Rovner, 4/20)."

NPR, in a separate story: "United figures the change in policy could help at least 150,000 graduating seniors and their families from having to find temporary coverage between this spring and the time the new requirement becomes effective" (Rovner, 4/19).

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