A kid at 25 — a good thing

A tidbit buried in a Tuesday (11/14) Wall Street Journal Story:

“…Health insurance…is ”at the top of the list” of workers’ problems. (An) idea is to offer government coverage for everyone under a certain age — say 18, or even 25 — as part of reauthorizing the current federal program for covering low-income children.

“That would be my wildest dream,” said Rep. Forney “Pete” Stark of California, a prime sponsor of the idea.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116346456714722160.html?mod=home_whats_news_us (subscription only)

If such legislation passes, California could reduce its uninsured population by another 1.1 million, (CHIS 2003). The most recent study by the California HealthCare Foundation shows that the population between ages 21-24 were the most likely to be uninsured last year.

Why aren’t young people insured?

Well — think back to your first job. You’re 21; you’re not making a lot of money. You’re either just starting your career — or not on a career path yet. Maybe you’re working part-time at a couple places. Maybe you’re an intern. Maybe you’ve just been hired full-time, but are in a probationary period.
That means your employer:

  1. Isn’t offering benefits – especially if you’re part-time.
  2. Offers benefits, but to full-time employees who have been working there for a while. (That means not you — at least right away).

Knowing that, advocates have tried to extend coverage to young adults through their parents’ health insurance in past years. In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed AB1698 (Nunez) in 2005, which would have extended dependent coverage until age 26.

Should Stark’s proposal pass, allowing young adults to receive coverage through Healthy Families, it would be a huge boon to expansion efforts nationally.

(Those who’d like me to email a copy of the WSJ article can contact me at hquach@health-access.org and i will be happy to send it your way.)

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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