Review Your Health Insurance Plan for Your Employees

June 09, 2010

The departments of HHS, Treasury and Labor issued an interim final rule explaining the new requirements for health insurers to extend coverage to young adults. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates that plans offering dependent coverage make it available to dependents up to age 26, starting with plan years beginning on or after Sept. 23. Under the rule, coverage cannot vary based on the dependent's age and must be offered regardless of whether the dependent lives with his or her parents, is a dependent for income tax purposes, and the dependent's marital status. Benefits and surcharges also must apply equally.

The government is encouraging employers and insurers to make coverage for adult children available sooner than required under the rules. Certain insurers have committed to offering coverage to at least certain children under age 26 before they are required to do so to avoid removing dependents from their records only to add them back in several months. Employer-sponsored group health plans providing coverage through insurance contracts should contact their insurers to determine if the insurer has implemented extended coverage before the required deadline.

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