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June 2009 St@teside

States Expand Health Insurance Options for Young Adults

Pennsylvania and Illinois have decided to expand health insurance options for their young adult populations by increasing the age to which dependents may stay on their parents’ insurance policies.  On June 10th, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell signed into law a bill (S.B. 189) that will require insurance companies to offer parents the option of keeping children on their insurance policies until they are 29 years of age.  Currently, young adults are removed from family plans at age 19 or upon graduation from college.  Insurance companies supported the bill and will be required to offer the option of coverage, but employers that offer group plans will be able to decide whether to extend it to employees.[1] Young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 make up the state’s largest group of uninsured. 

On June 1, an Illinois law (H.B. 5825) took effect that allows parents to keep children on their insurance policies up to age 26, or up to age 30 if the young person has served in the military.  While the new law became active on June 1, people do not become eligible until their insurance policies next come up for renewal. 

These new laws are important because while young people without employer-sponsored insurance often have a variety of plans available to them on the individual market, they may find it nearly impossible to obtain coverage if they have a record of medical problems.[2]

To learn more about how states have tackled the issue of dependent coverage, please visit the Dependent Coverage page on the SCI Web Site.