August 13th, 2009
04:06 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN Truth Squad: Will college students who can't remain on parents' insurance policies because of age be insured under the Obama plan?

The statement: From David Morris of Portland, Maine: "I'd like to know if under Obama's insurance reform plan, if students like me who turn 25 and can't be on their parents' insurance anymore while they're full-time students will be covered."

(Get the facts and the verdict after the jump)

The facts: Many college students find themselves in a bind when they end up dropped from family insurance policies after they reach a certain age and can't afford their own insurance.

The Obama administration is backing a health-care overhaul that would help bolster coverage for college students and other young adults, according to his administration and a private foundation that supports universal health-care reform.
Three main facets address this point:

- At present, the age of dependency for young people to retain private
insurance coverage from parents varies from state to state.

But the Affordable Health Choices Act passed by the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee would allow coverage for dependent young adults - including students - under their parents' private insurance policies to age 26. Linda Douglass, communications director in the administration's Office of Health Reform, thinks such language will make it to a House bill.

Twenty-six U.S. states have laws limiting age of dependency status for young adults, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based private foundation aimed at promoting a high-performing health-care system and researching health-care issues. It says the limiting age of dependency status ranges from 24 in four states to 30 in two of them, with most at 25 and some at

- Douglass said uninsured college students would be able to get access to the health insurance exchanges proposed in Senate and House legislation. In the proposals, people can shop for various health plans, such as a public insurance option and private insurance plans. An inexpensive insurance policy geared to young adults and focused on prevention is in the works, she said.

- At present, young adults in low-income families lose Medicaid when they turn 19. But under House and Senate proposals, people in their 20s could also gain eligibility for Medicaid - the federal program for certain low-income individuals and families administered by states - because the income eligibility limits would be expanded to include adults with incomes up to 133 percent or 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

The fund - which addressed these issues in a report titled "Rite of Passage? Why Young Adults Become Uninsured and How New Policies Can Help, 2009 Update" - says proposals being considered by Congress would help 13.2 million uninsured young adults, including full-time students who lose coverage under their family's insurance.

"It would help young adults get coverage they lack right now," said Sara R. Collins, vice president of the Commonwealth Fund's Affordable Health Insurance program.

The verdict: True. The Obama administration health-care overhaul includes proposals that would help provide coverage for full-time students who under current laws would be dropped from their parents' insurance plans at age 25. Lawmakers continue to huddle over versions of the health-care overhaul plan, and it is too soon to know the final shape of the legislation and the fate of these proposals.

Filed under: Health care • Health care fact check
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Mississippi Mike

    I went through undergraduate and graduate school without health insurance and I'd do it again. I'd say that I maybe went to the doctor twice during that entire period. I could have gotten insurance throug the university but opted not to. It was a great choice on my part.

    August 13, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |