The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 became law on March 23. It was immediately followed by the Health Care and Education Tax Credits Reconciliation Act of 2010. These two laws make up what is now known as "Health Care Reform." In a series of articles, I intend to acquaint you with the most significant provisions of these acts which cover well over 2,000 pages. Each will be a snippet of what the laws contain.
The new laws have provisions that relate directly to children. In that regard, some treat children as such if they are under 19 years of age. Other sections relate to children who are under 26 years of age. So it is important to see what age applies to the various sections. In addition, there are numerous applicable dates at which time each section takes effect. I will try to show you how each works.
Two sections relating to children will take effect September 23, 2010. Depending on the plan, that probably will mean they will take effect on October 1, 2010. These sections provide coverage for dependent children on their parents’ plans until they turn age 26 and also prohibit insurance companies from rating a plan based upon pre-existing conditions of children under age 19. It appears from the initial regulations that have been drafted that the word "dependent" does not mean the same as a dependent for tax purposes. It appears to be much broader. So if you have a child who has graduated from college and needs unsurance coverage, he or she may be elgible to be on your plan until they turn age 26. That is very important for most families.
That second issue, the fact that pre-existing conditions are ignored for children, will make it much easier for families with children who have serious health issues to remain in plans with affordable costs after the applicable date.
As you can see, these are complicated issues. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to discuss them with you. I will also be putting up additional snippets in the days to come!