A portion of the federal health care law that went into effect this week will build on a measure Governor Ed Rendell signed into law last year.
Since last December, Pennsylvania insurance companies have been able to extend parents’ health care benefits to their children, up to the age of 29.
The state law provided the option for companies to do that, though – it wasn’t a mandate, as Acting Insurance Commissioner Robert Pratter explains.
"Whether or not that was provided was left up to the employer sponsoring the plan. So that if the employer agreed to provide that coverage that coverage would be available. But it was not the parents’, or I’ll say the consumers’, choice."
The federal health care law now in effect requires insurers to provide coverage to young adults up to age 26, through their parents’ plans.
At the time the state law went into effect last year, Pennsylvania’s Insurance Department estimated 15-thousand twenty-somethings without insurance could benefit from joining their parents’ plan.
Insurance companies are also now barred from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions.
Meantime, the Insurance Department is still accepting applications for a new pilot program covering people with preexisting health conditions. There are 35-hundred available spots.
A spokeswoman says about 34-hundred people have applied so far.