The recently approved health care bill has been debated ad nauseam and I’m not here to add to that debate. Instead, I want to focus on a couple of new provisions that should provide some relief to farmers with children.
First, the new bill requires insurance companies to offer coverage for dependent children to the age of 26 under their parent’s insurance plan. This is not contingent on full-time student status. The provision is targeted at some of the most commonly uninsured people in the country: young adults who are out of high school and are not covered on an employer health insurance plan.
As parents of two young adults, my husband and I have experienced the ups and downs of insurance coverage, including a short time when one child had no health insurance. It was not a good thing.
Many farm families have adult children in school, working on the farm or in jobs without health benefits. They must either purchase health insurance on their own or go without.
The good news: A farmer’s insurance plan must cover dependents until the age of 26 if no employer-sponsored plan is available and if the policy owner asks for it. This rule also applies to married dependents. The provision goes into effect after September 23.
The second provision states that no preexisting condition exclusions are allowed for children. Farm families who switch health insurance companies no longer need to worry about coverage for children with health problems.
We perhaps can all agree that these provisions provide much-needed benefits. We all want the best for our children.