Young Adults Can Stay on Parents’ Health Insurance Plans

    Parents can now keep their adult children on their health insurance plans, through the age of 26. Federal law is modeled on one from Pennsylvania.

    A portion of the federal health care law that went into effect September 23 builds on a measure Pennsylvania Governor Rendell signed into law last year.

    Since last December, Pennsylvania insurance companies have been able to extend parents’ health care benefits to their children, up to the age of 29.

    The state law only provided the option for companies to do that, though–it wasn’t a mandate–says Acting Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Robert Pratter.

    “Whether or not that was provided was left up to the employer sponsoring the plan. So that if the employer agreed to provide that coverage, that coverage would be available. But it was not the parents’, or I’ll say, the consumers’, choice.”

    The federal health care law now in effect requires insurers to provide coverage to young adults through age 29, through their parents’ plans.

    At the time the state law went into effect last year, Pennsylvania’s Insurance Department estimated 15, 000 twenty-somethings without insurance could benefit from joining their parents’ plan.

    Insurance companies are also now barred from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions.

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