Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205
03/18/2009 01:30 PM Senate HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES
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|Confirmation of Governor's Appointments|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
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SB 11-DEPENDENT HEALTH INSURANCE; AGE LIMIT 2:41:38 PM CHAIR DAVIS announced consideration of SB 11. TOM OBERMEYER, staff to Senator Davis, sponsor of SB 11, read the sponsor statement into the record as follows: SB 11 requires an insurer to enroll, and prohibits taking off the rolls or eliminating health care insurance coverage without the consent of the insured, for a person less than 26 years old who is related to the insured, unmarried, financially dependent on the insured, does not have dependents, enrolled in an institution of higher education, and not insured under another policy. SB 11 changes the age that a person is considered a child from 23 years of age to 26 for purposes of determining who may be insured under the same policy of health insurance. Young adults, ages 19-29, are one of the largest growing segments of the U.S. population without health insurance. In 2004 almost 14 million young adults lacked coverage, an increase of 2.5 million since 2000. This rapid change is due in part to their losing coverage under their parents' policies at 19, or Medicaid, or State Children's Health Insurance Program, or graduation from high school or college. Almost half of college graduates and high graduates will be uninsured for a substantial time after graduation. Age 19 is a crucial year in health insurance coverage. Both public and private insurance plans treat this age as a turning point for insurance coverage. Even if youth go on to college, parents' insurance plans often stop before graduation. Almost all private universities and about one fourth of public universities require health insurance as a condition of enrollment. Forty percent of part-time students and non-students, and 20 percent of full-time students ages 19-23 are uninsured. Insurance coverage is important for this generally healthy group of young adults who should be encouraged to start taking responsibility for their own health care. It has been found that 14 percent of adults 18- 29 are obese, an increase of 70 percent in the 1990s, - the fastest rate of increase among all adults. There are 3.5 million pregnancies each year among the 21 million women ages 19-29. One-third of all diagnoses of HIV are made among young adults. Emergency room visits are far more common among young adults than children or older adults. Most young adults have no regular doctor, no link to the health care system, and more than one-third of those who do require medical attention are often saddled with debt and collection agencies. States are taking action to mandate coverage for young adults, often allowing for targeted policy options. For example, in 2006 New Jersey required most group health plans to cover single adult dependents up to age 30. Massachusetts as part of its expanded health insurance law in 2006 considered dependents for insurance purposes up to age 25 or for two years after they are no longer claimed on their parents' tax returns. Since 1994 Utah has required coverage through age 26, and New Mexico provides coverage for unmarried dependents up to age 25, regardless of school enrollment. Texas in 2003 allowed full-time students up to be covered by their parents' insurance plans to age 25. It is not uncommon, or unreasonable, therefore, that SB 11 requires offering family health insurance coverage to dependent children up to age 26. 2:44:59 PM MR. OBERMEYER explained that states are taking action to mandate coverage for young adults often allowing for targeted policy options. For example in 2006, New Jersey required most group health plans to cover single adult dependents up to age 30; Massachusetts considered dependents up to age 25 or for two years after they are no longer claimed on their parents' tax returns. Since 1994, Utah has required coverage through age 26 and New Mexico provides coverage through age 25 regardless of school enrollment. Texas in 2003 allowed full-time students to be covered to age 25. It is not unreasonable that this bill requires offering family health plans to dependent children up to age 26. SENATOR DYSON asked Mr. Obermeyer if state schools no longer offer health coverage for students. MR. OBERMEYER answered that most still offer it, but it has become prohibitively expensive for a lot of students; it might be $1,800/yr. or more. Schools require it because liabilities are involved in having students on campus. It has been found that it is less expensive to retain students on their parents' policies. 2:47:55 PM SENATOR DYSON asked if anyone from the insurance industry has addressed that issue or how much it would cost to carry the kids longer. MR. OBERMEYER answered the insurance industry last indicated that the cost to continue coverage under those existing plans would not be prohibitive. It might go up several percentage points. SENATOR DYSON asked if SB 11 allows an insurance company to increase the rates as necessary to extend the coverage. TOM OBERMEYER answered yes, but this bill says that kids cannot be deleted from a policy. SENATOR DYSON asked if they've had any feedback from the insurance companies. CHAIR DAVIS replied that the only dissenting view came from the Small Business Association. 2:51:51 PM SENATOR PASKVAN moved to report SB 11 from committee with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection it was so ordered.