SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California could become the only state to let adult children add their parents as dependents to their health insurance plans, a policy proposal to increase insurance coverage among low-income people living in the country illegally who aren’t eligible for government-funded coverage.
Former President Barack Obama’s health law let parents keep their adult children on their health plans until at least age 26, a change that helped millions of young people transition to adulthood as jobs were scarce after the Great Recession. That change was so popular that many states have gone further and let adults keep their children on until age 30.
Now, California could do the same for older people who are transitioning into retirement after the pandemic. A proposal in the state Legislature authored by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago passed its first committee hearing on Tuesday. According to the state Department of Insurance, California would be the only state that allows this if, according to the state Department of Insurance.
Supporters, including Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, say it will save families money by, among other things, limiting their expenses to one shared maximum out-of-pocket limit.
“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 the most. But business groups say adding lots of older people to their large group insurance plans will just drive up their already skyrocketing premium costs. Employer premiums would increase between $200 million and $800 million per year, depending on how many people sign up. The result, they say, would be higher health care costs for everyone. (This bill) will exacerbate the health care affordability issue and strain struggling small employers’ budgets at a time when they are finally beginning to recover,” said Preston Young, a policy advocate for the California Chamber of Commerce.