15,000 Young Oregonians Get to Keep Their Health Coverage

By Laura Etherton of Portland, Oregon. Laura is the health policy advocate with OSPIRG, a non-profit, non partisan consumer advocacy organization.

Today is a good day to be a young person who wants to stay healthy, and not go broke in the process.

An estimated 15,000 Oregon young people and their families will benefit from a provision of the new healthcare law, effective today, that allows parents to keep their adult children on their parents plan until age 26.

Without these changes, they’d face expensive premiums for separate, often skimpier, coverage.

That’s what Tom Pearson realized when he looked into health insurance after graduating from Willamette University this year. The prices were astronomical, and the coverage was worse. Because of the new law, he can stay on his parents’ plan and not break the bank.

Katie Taylor, a current student at the University of Oregon, faced a similar situation. Her insurance company was going to dump her off her family’s plan next month we she turned 24. With a history of asthma, she knew her pre-existing condition would get her denied coverage on her own. Now, she’s able to stay on her family’s plan for her remaining two years in college.

To mark the day, and make sure young people and their families across Oregon hear about the new protections, OSPIRG released The Young Person's Guide to Health Insurance. It begins with a letter from President Barack Obama addressed to students coming back to college this fall.

A number of important elements of the health reform law go into effect today. For example:

You have the right to keep your coverage without your insurance company yanking it because of a paperwork error. In the past, insurance companies could use accidental errors in your enrollment form as an excuse to take away your coverage if you got sick.

To be clear, even with the reforms effective today, finding good coverage at an affordable price can be challenging. Oregonians will need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities under the new law.

And we need to keep pushing next steps, such as strong insurance exchanges to pool consumers’ buying power and negotiate a better deal on health coverage for all of us. Oregon can be a leader among putting reform into action in a way that gets real results.

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    And the GOP and their leader, John Boehner, is now on record today opposing all of these new reforms, vowing to repeal them and deprive young children and young adults access to health care coverage.

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    I note that Regence doesn't want to insure sick kids, only the healthy ones. Interesting too the pay of the execs of Regence - http://www.thelundreport.org/resource/congress_look_at_executive_pay_includes_regence

    Good for Providence, Kaiser Perm, ODA and the others who aren't taking their ball and going home.

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    Unless of course for those families that got child only health insurance because the cost of adding the children to the work insurance was too expensive.

    It will also be a great day when the insurance premiums go up because the liability jump of keeping the kids on the policy 3-5 more years.

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