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Anthem Announces Initiative to Address Extension of Dependent Coverage

Apr 22, 2010

Just announced: Anthem's new initiative addresses dependent coverage gap, helps parents keep their adult children covered.

FAQ and Press Release

It was announced earlier this week that Anthem Blue Cross' parent company is taking steps to prevent a gap in coverage that could leave many young Americans uninsured.

Each year in June, many young people - because of their age, student status or other factors - become ineligible as dependents on their parents' insurance policies. Health care reform legislation, signed into law last month, will extend dependent coverage to age 26 for plan years beginning September 23, 2010. While this is great news, it also means that many members would face a coverage gap during the months before this provision is fully implemented.

To help these members, Anthem Blue Cross is working, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and state regulators, to allow young men and women to remain on their parents' group and individual health policies even before this health care reform provision takes effect.

Beginning June 1, Anthem Blue Cross will continue to provide health benefits to those dependents that would otherwise lose coverage because of their age, student status or other factors during the gap period between June 1, 2010, and the September 23, 2010, effective date.

This extension of coverage will not be retroactive, however, for those who have dependents who aged out prior to June 1, 2010. Those individuals will be able to add their dependents back onto their policies with the new plan year beginning on or after September 23 in accordance with the new law.

Anthem Blue Cross' ASO, and any fully or partially self-funded accounts over 100 lives, will have the option of not offering this extended coverage. Anthem Blue Cross will work with these groups individually to ensure their needs and the needs of their employees continue to be met. They're developing additional information that will help these groups opt out, if they choose to.

Some states already have provisions that allow for dependents up to the age of 26 to be included on their parents' policy. However, in many states this new coverage will allow for many more dependents to remain on their parents' policies, so Anthem Blue Cross will provide additional details regarding how this decision coordinates with state mandates and dependent coverage in future communications. 

As with every subsidiary of Anthem Blue Cross' parent company, it's their priority to protect access to health benefits for their members. They believe this initiative will help do this, while giving their members the chance to get even more from health care reform. For details, please take a look at this Q&A and news release. You can also expect more information as it becomes available. 

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