Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has urged employers to immediately begin to offer or to continue health insurance coverage for employees’ children up to the age of 26, at minimal or no additional cost.
Under the new health care law, employers will be required to offer this extended coverage, and they should not wait for the requirement to take effect later this year or early next year, said Sibelius.
More than 65 insurers have already agreed to allow young adults to remain on their parents’ policies at the request of the Obama administration. Unfortunately, only a small number of employers have taken steps to modify their health plans to make the option available to their employees.
At a news conference the week of May 24, Sibelius said, “We are reaching out to large employer groups, asking them to open their plans earlier than mandated and make this coverage available,” adding, “This is likely to be an overwhelmingly healthy group of individuals,” making extra costs incurred minimal.
Insurers continue to insists that rates have reached a crisis level and people are discontinuing their coverage because they cannot make the premium payments.”The worse of all worlds,” said Sibelius, “is to have more Americans driven out of the market in the next couple of years,” before the laws major provisions become effective in 2014.