Insurers must permit parents to cover their adult children

    Paying for your adult child’s health insurance should be a little less costly under the new health reform plan.

    Paying for your adult child’s health insurance should be a little less costly under the new health reform plan.

    Right now, when twenty-somethings graduate from college, they often get kicked off mom and dad’s coverage. But when a child has chronic health problems, many parents try to keep that coverage going by paying the full cost of the benefits.

    The new health bill passed by the House allows adult children to remain on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26. But it’s not clear if your grad student will cost you more than your tween.

    (Clarification: Health insurance plans are exempt from the requirement to cover young adults under already-contracted, existing policies, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The reconciliation health bill before the Senate could close that loophole.)

    Bianca DiJulio: I’m not sure we know exactly how the pricing will be structured but it’s probably possible that there could be a difference if it was a minor versus an adult child.

    Bianca DiJulio is a policy analyst with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

    She says even if the rates are somewhat higher for adult children, the cost should be much lower than COBRA – that’s the federal law that allows people to pay the full cost of workplace health insurance.

    New Jersey pediatrician Odette Cohen says she paid more than $200 a month – per child — to make sure her daughters had coverage.

    Cohen: Now they are 24 and 28, but when they first finished college, they could not stay on my insurance anymore, they were without insurance, for a while there I had to buy individual insurance for them and it was expensive.

    Unmarried adults can stay on their parents’ plan until age 26, unless their own workplace offers health benefits.

    Cohen: By the time they are 26, I trust that they’ll get jobs and be able to pay for their own (insurance) in the exchanges or through their employers.

    While the most sweeping changes in the health bill won’t begin until 2014, relief for adult children begins six months after the bill becomes law.

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