Health insurance alert: Children under 26?

September 27, 2010

By UTU International President Mike Futhey

One of the jewels of the Obama health care reform plan passed into law by Congress earlier this year allows certain dependent children to remain on an employee’s health care insurance plan until age 26 without regard to student, marital, residence of financial dependent status.

This provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act becomes effective Jan. 1, 2011, but only if enrollment is accomplished during a special 30-day enrollment period.

Complete information on the eligible dependent child provision, and elimination of the lifetime maximum benefit limits on the railroad national health and welfare plans, will be detailed in the annual re-enrollment packet railroad employees will be receiving soon from UnitedHealthcare.

Members not covered by national rail plans — which includes UTU Bus Department and Airline Department members — should check with their employers regarding what actions may be necessary to ensure dependent children under 26 remain covered on their employer-provided heath care insurance plans.

As for UTU-represented railroad employees, It is essential you open the packet from UnitedHealthcare and review the information carefully when it arrives, as failure to complete and return the required information in the required time period could result in a missed opportunity to enroll your eligible dependent child.

The law requires that the addition to health care insurance plans of eligible dependent children under age 26 be accomplished within the 30-day special enrollment period.

Failure to complete and return the required information could result in eligible dependent children being denied coverage.