United Healthcare, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and WellPoint said they’re changing rules now to allow those under 26 to remain on their parent’s policy. Since this provision of the new health care reform legislation wasn’t scheduled to take effect until September 23rd, these companies are potentially doing something they’re not often accused of: doing something nice for free.
Prior to passage of health care reform legislation, most insurance companies dropped young adults from parental policies when they were no longer full-time students or at age 21, forcing them to pay for more expensive individual policies. But it would appear that this Spring’s crop of college grads will have a less expensive option: letting mom and dad continue to foot the bill while they look for work.
According to this article in USA Today, UnitedHealthcare and Humana are making this change immediately. At WellPoint, the change will take effect on June 1, and Kaiser is planning to extend coverage before September, although details aren’t quite as clear as to exact dates.
People already dropped due to age or graduation won’t be automatically reinstated, however. Those not currently covered will have to wait until September 23rd.
Yesterday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent letters to other insurers asking them to follow suit. Hopefully more will.