Health Careers Journal

Healthcare Insurance Extension for Young People?

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As part of Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s healthcare platform, young people up to age 25 could continue to get healthcare coverage on their parent’s health insurance plan. The Associated Press reports that while 17 states have upped the age of availability for insurance, in some cases to 29 and 30 years of age, other states have yet to do so; now, most states provide stipulations for young people up to age 19 for non-students and 23 for non-students. Estimates made by The Commonwealth Fund, a private organization tasked with promoting quality, access and efficiency of health care in the United States, predict 1.4 million people would gain health insurance if companies were mandated to provide coverage to young people thru their parent’s policies up to age 23.

This group of the population is increasingly at risk for being uninsured as the policy stands now. Insurance costs are soaring and with minimal incomes, people in this segment of the population are making the choice to go without health coverage, leaving them open to health and financial risk.

The National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) is an organization built of state legislators from across the country whose main focus is insurance policy and legislation. At their spring meeting the group will vote on approving the recommendation that all insurance companies should be held responsible for providing insurance for children of insured up to the age of 23. State legislators around the country look to the NCOIL for counsel on which policies should be adopted into practice.

Opponents of the plan believe the excess cost to cover the additional insured would ultimately fall to the business’ who are providing healthcare to their employees. Insurance companies would be unable to provide the additional coverage without passing on the additional cost to those companies who are providing the insurance. Healthcare costs are already sinking many companies, some worry that the additional cost would prompt more companies to limit or drop available insurance plans all together.

Another concern is that of pre-existing conditions. Generally, younger people have better health; however, health issues do arise. If a health condition is established while they are covered under their parents’ policy, getting their own insurance policy to cover that pre-existing condition may prove impossible once they reach an age of ineligibility for their parents’ policy. Getting out and getting a policy of their own as early as possible would help insure them of coverage irregardless of health conditions.

Obviously, our ailing health care system is in need of desperate reform. Mandating insurance companies to increase the net of those they cover without certainty on who will pay for the increase in cost of that coverage is irresponsible at best. Certainly the problem of the uninsured and underinsured should be on the forefront of our national plan for the future, significant discussion needs, and is, to take place on how to fund, provide and distribute adequate healthcare while providing choice and option for that health care. We need universal healthcare, we also need to be responsible about the cost of that healthcare.


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