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Connecticut Expanding Health Coverage for Young Adults

August 10, 2010

HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut was among the first states to require insurance companies to include eligible young adult children on their parents' insurance plans. Now the new federal health reform law will greatly expand that coverage. The Connecticut law applies to full-time students living in or out of state, or those under 26 living in Connecticut who do not have their own employer-sponsored health insurance plan.

So far, half the work force is allowed to include their under-26 kids on their policies. Now, according to Victoria Veltri, general counsel for the state's Office of the Health Care Advocate, the new federal law is expanding coverage to the other half.

"So it applies to what we call self-insured plans, which are the kind of plan that large employers often run and which are not normally subject to state law."

She says the federal law also eliminates the requirement that the young adult live in Connecticut to be covered.

Veltri says the federal requirement goes into effect September 23, six months after the law's passage.

"Most of the plans are already doing this. All of the major insurance plans are already allowing kids up to the age of 26 to enroll."

She says parents can add their eligible young adult children to their policies during their insurance company's open enrollment period once a year, or any time during the year if the child experiences what's known as a "life status change," such as losing a job.

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT