Policy-ish

Adding Some Grads To Parents' Health Plans Could Be Costly

After the commencement speeches are over, the new grads face the job hunt and maybe a gap in health coverage.

Graduation i i

Coverage is one thing. Price is another. iStockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto.com
Graduation

Coverage is one thing. Price is another.

iStockphoto.com

Starting in September, the new health law will let adult children ride on their folks' coverage until they turn 26. But a bunch of insurers, prodded by the feds, have agreed to start sooner, so there's no lapse for this year's graduates.

If a health plan offers dependent coverage, then it will have to offer the extension of coverage, too, under interim regulatons just put out by the Department of Health and Human Services.

But, as the Washington Post notes, there's nothing stopping insurers for charging a whole lot more for families who buy coverage on the individual market and whose children have preexisting conditions.

In 2014, the new health law won't let insurers levy higher premiums for people with preexisting conditions.

Right now, HHS figures 2.4 million young adults might qualify for the extension on their parents plans. How many will sign up? The department isn't sure, but its middle-of-the-road estimate would be 1.24 million in 2011.

Oh, and how much will the average premium run? About $3,380 per person for group plans and about $2,360 for families buying plans on the individual market in 2011, HHS estimates.

For more information, check out the FAQ from HHS.

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