Yesterday I went to the Committee on Commerce and Labor not realizing that the Health Freedom Act had been removed from the docket. While there this bill, “HB 440 Accident and sickness insurance policies; coverage of children who are under age 27”, was brought up. From my point of view the Delegate who introduced this bill was trying to slip this bill through with out much noticed and the Subcommittee caught on and has tabled it for right now.
Under the guise of making the language currently governing what age a parent can keep their dependent children their insurance clearer, the Delegate attempted to raise that age to 27 and remove the requirement that your child must be a full time student to qualify. Because of the laws governing dependents, insurance companies would have been required to offer this option, if they covered dependent children of any age.
The effect would have been insurance companies having to raise the rates of everyone, to cover this option that a parent could take advantage of. Offering the level of coverage most parents have for their children up to 27 will increase the cost to the insurance companies, and they will raise rates to everybody to cover this increase in cost. Of course if you purchased a individual policy for them that matches the benefits most employer plans offer you will spend more money, then keeping them on your policy. But currently you can get a high deductible health insurance plan along with a HSA for about the same or not much more and help them get out of the health insurance mess. We did that for our two kids.
The above is not the main reason we should watch out for things like this. When mandates are added to insurance companies, it make the current insurance mess worst. It increase cost, reduces options and gives more power to those who own the plans, which are typically not us. This effect us all, even if we do not have children currently.
Thank you, Freddy for your report and for taking the time to go to the General Assembly.