Insurance plan

Add your parents to your health insurance plan? California says maybe.

Proponents framed the bill as a way to increase coverage among the state’s uninsured population.

Adults Could Add Dependent Parents to Health Plans Under Proposed California Legislation Inclusion of dependent children in insurance policies has long been standard procedure in the health care industry. However, controversial legislation being considered in California would reverse the scenario by allowing adult children to add dependent parents to their plans.

A proposal by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago passed its first committee hearing this week. If it becomes law, California would be the only state to allow it, according to the state Department of Insurance. Proponents, including Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, say it will save families money by, among other things, limiting their spending to a maximum shared limit.

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“When we were young, our parents were there for us and took care of us,” Lara said. “Now we can take care of them when they need it most.”

However, business groups say adding large numbers of seniors to their large group insurance plans will only increase their already skyrocketing premium costs. Employer contributions would increase between $200 million and $800 million a year, depending on how many people sign up. The result, they say, would be increased health care costs for everyone.

“If passed, the bill will likely increase access to health care for Americans, which is always a huge benefit,” said Sina Chehrazi, CEO and co-founder of Nayya. “But it is difficult to predict the impact in terms of costs for employers and premiums. However, what this shows us is that there is still a huge gap in how American workers choose the right health plans for themselves and/or their families. If this bill were to pass, we needed to give our employees the tools and guidance they need to understand the costs and benefits associated with these types of changes, so they can protect themselves against rising costs. »

To be eligible, parents would have to meet the IRS definition of a dependent, meaning they depend on their children for at least 50% of their support.

Proponents have touted the bill as a way to increase coverage among the state’s uninsured population, which is mostly made up of people who live in the country illegally and are not eligible for government-funded insurance programs. the government such as Medicaid and Medicare. These individuals are also not eligible for federal assistance to purchase private coverage through Covered California, the state health insurance exchange.

But it’s unclear how many parents would sign up for their children’s insurance plans if given the chance. An analysis by the California Health Benefits Review Program estimates that between 20,000 and 80,000 parents would do so. Another risk for employers would be parents who live outside the United States moving to the country to live with their children in order to obtain coverage.

“The possibility of receiving care in the United States would be very attractive, especially for people with high-risk conditions,” the analysis said.

Lara’s office dismissed that concern, saying “it’s always an argument that comes up every time we expand health care options.” Since 2016, the California Medicaid program covers children living illegally in the United States. The state has not seen a corresponding increase in the number of immigrants coming to the state.

“The reality is that expanding health care choices helps Californians, plain and simple,” Lara’s office wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “The existing requirement in state law that someone ‘lives, works and resides’ in California would apply.”

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