Young adults might have to wait for health care coverage

In the midst of college graduation season, health insurance experts warned Monday that many employers will not be prepared to offer coverage to dependents up to age 26 before 2011, despite insurance companies' early commitment to provide that coverage this year.

"For young adults who are graduating this spring, it's really important to go to your employers and see if they are starting this right off the bat, and when their enrollment year begins," said Sara Collins, an economist at the Commonwealth Fund.

While insurance companies are required by the health overhaul law to offer coverage for dependents as old as 26 on their parents' plans after Sept. 23, Collins said the availability of coverage would depend on when an employer's enrollment period begins.

"It will likely be later than that," said Collins, referring to the September deadline.

Roland McDevitt, healthcare research director at consulting firm Towers Watson, agreed that the reality of coverage for dependents this year is unlikely.

"The detail that most people don't understand is all the administrative enrollment stuff that's behind a large employer's health plan is actually typically done by the employer, not the health plan," said McDevitt, who explained that employers are responsible for determining how to enact many provisions of the requirement, including whether to offer dental and vision coverage, which is not mandated under the healthcare law.

McDevitt said few of his clients were likely to start offering coverage to dependents under 26 before their 2011 plan year begins. He warned that many small- and medium-size businesses may not be ready to handle the administrative requirements of implementing the law.

"I suspect that group is not as well prepared to sort of plan for all these administrative issues," said McDevitt.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.