Healthcare Insurers Are Extending Family Coverage to Under 26s Early

WellPoint, UnitedHealth Group beating September 23 deadline to provide family healthcare benefits to those under 26.Two of the nation’s largest private insurers have decided to extend benefits to young adults under their parents’ policies starting in June — months ahead of the September 23 date specified in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  WellPoint and UnitedHealth Group will allow the uninsured up to age 26 to be covered by their parents’ health plans as they graduate from college and lose student benefits.

Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary, is working to persuade other healthcare insurers to begin compliance with the law prior to the official date.  The insurers are acting early to assure that graduating college students avoid a coverage gap this summer.

Bradley Fluegel, WellPoint’s chief strategy and external affairs officer, said “Protecting access to healthcare is our first priority.”  Gail Boudreaux of UnitedHealth Group concurred, saying “Accelerating the dependent coverage extension timeline for our graduating student enrollees is another tangible step we are taking to help translate the new, complex health reform directives into workable reality.  We want students to graduate into a secure future, not the ranks of the uninsured, so we are working with employers to make sure these young adults have health coverage available to them ahead of the new requirement.”

Secretary Sebelius said “We are encouraged by the actions of WellPoint, UnitedHealthcare and other companies to bridge the gap between now and the fall when the law becomes effective.”

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