Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Health Care Bill Lets Graduates Stay on Parents' Plans

Health care bill brings good news for college graduates, at least for now

For graduating seniors without immediate plans for employment or further education, the scramble for health insurance is over. The sweeping health care reform bill, which was passed by Congress on March 21 and signed by President Obama on March 23, requires insurance companies to allow children to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until they turn 26, as long as their place of employment does not offer coverage.

Though elements of health insurance reform have different implementation dates that stretch until 2018 — the requirement that insurance companies accept customers with preexisting conditions goes into effect in 2014, for example — regulations requiring that insurance plans treat children up to 26 as eligible dependents goes into effect in September, six months after the bill’s signing.

For many seniors, this is a welcome change. Most students interviewed for this article said they are currently covered by their families’ insurance plans.

Meredith Bock ’10 said she plans to take advantage of the change after completing a one-year fellowship with Project 55, which connects graduating seniors and recent graduates with fellowships in the nonprofit sector, at the University of California, San Francisco Breast Care Center.

Bock will have health insurance from Project 55 but said she plans to stay on her mother’s insurance plan when she attends medical school after the fellowship.

Bock added that she thinks the changes might have the biggest impact on “the people who are going straight into the workforce, who might not be making very high pay at first.”

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