Bump in health care age positive step

With commencement less than a month away, graduates seem to have fewer job opportunities than in previous years. Many are turning to graduate school, internships or moving to their parents’ home — accepting any option they find. Seniors also have had to worry about how they would be insured in between graduating and getting their first real job. Fortunately, at least this concern can be eased. Illinois parents will have the chance to ensure their daughters and sons have medical coverage until age 26 under the new Illinois Law Public Act 95-0958.

The law, which will be enacted June 1, allows families to keep their sons and daughters as dependents on the family’s insurance policy until the age of 26; the age is extended to 30 for children of military veterans. However, it is only applicable if the family’s insurance policy allows for dependent coverage. And of course, the increased coverage will come at a cost to the insurance holder, but that’s to be expected. The other catch is the children cannot be married.

Despite the catches, this policy is a huge improvement from the current coverage. Previously, insurance companies could discontinue coverage when a young adult graduated from high school and either went to work or enrolled in college part-time.

According to an article in the Journal of Brand and Product Management, there has been a trend of college students taking longer to get their first job in their career because the workforce has become more competitive, college loans need to be paid off and jobs are scarce — especially those jobs with benefits. For those reasons, college students have had to think about what would happen in the case of an emergency or how much they would have to pay out of pocket for their own health insurance. Either way it would be too costly.

This new law will allow graduating students a breathing period between graduation and finding a job with health care benefits. As the times change, so do the laws; they should. With the state of the economy, it’s almost unreasonable to not have this sort of option available for new graduates.

The only thing to watch out for is the 90-day enrollment period. Parents are only allotted 90 days to enroll their child under their coverage after their child’s coverage is up for renewal; and the period is available only within the first year of the law’s passage. After that, insurance companies will be free to charge a coverage requirement for children. In other words, sign up early and reap the benefits.