More on Sending the Wrong Message

 – This post is expanding on our previous stories about the new laws allowing parents to keep their children as dependents on their health insurance until they’re 30.

For various reasons, the 19 to 29 year old age bracket is the highest uninsured age bracket in the country.  These laws were put into place in an attempt to lower the number of uninsured, which is a nice thought.  Having a 19 to 29 year old as a dependent on a health insurance policy isn’t a cheap option though.  On some group policies, when parents include their ‘kids’ as dependents it costs hundreds of dollars extra per month.

Not everybody is excited about these new laws.  At the same time employer sponsored health insurance is on the decline, many wonder about the idea of extending a parent’s employer-sponsored health insurance to grown children. 

In Colorado, Leo Tokar, vice president for marketing and sales for Kaiser Permanente Colorado, said the added expense from that state’s new law created a “perverse incentive” for companies to reduce insurance benefits. Employers in Colorado can either pass along additional premiums for the adult children — who can stay on health plans until they reach age 25 — to their parents or spread the extra cost among all employees.

“Our opinion is it was absolutely the right direction to go, but it was the wrong way to go about doing it,” Mr. Tokar said.

He said it was inappropriate to make employers that offer insurance serve “as a conduit to address broader social issues.”

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About Jay Norris

Jay operates a health insurance brokerage in Colorado, where he helps individuals and small groups obtain and maintain health insurance coverage.
Complimenting his work as a health insurance broker, Jay also provides data analysis and creates visualizations that are easily understood by consumers and other stakeholders in Colorado’s health insurance market.

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