Van Hollen, Norton, Dahlkemper, Connolly Introduce FEHBP Dependent Coverage Extension Act
Would Ensure Federal Employees can Keep Children on Health Care Plan until 26 Years Old Starting in 2010
Today, Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA), and Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) introduced the FEHBP Dependent Coverage Extension Act. Current federal law allows people in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) to keep dependents on their health insurance plans until the age of 22. This bill would conform current law with the recently passed health care reform law and ensure that the children of Federal employees are able to remain on their parents’ health insurance until their 26th birthday. It also gives the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) the authority to implement this change for the 2010 plan year. This builds on a letter that Congressman Van Hollen sent to OPM Director John Berry in March on this issue.
“The legislation I am introducing today will move up to this year the timetable for allowing Federal employees to keep their children on their health care until the age of 26. This will provide emotional and financial relief for families in the often uneasy transition period from high school and college to the working world,” said Van Hollen. “The recent announcement that private health insurers will voluntarily allow young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies before the enactment date of the new health care law is welcome news. However, this voluntary implementation does not extend to the millions of hard-working Federal employees. And while I commend OPM for beginning to take steps to apply the age 26 dependent coverage provision to FEHBP plans in 2011, OPM needs the authority to implement this very important provision sooner. And this legislation is designed to do just that.”
“This small change simply puts federal employees with young adult children on par with other Americans in tough economic times, when no American should be without healthcare if it can be avoided,” said Norton.
“This legislation is the next step to ensuring that my Young Adult Healthcare provision is fully implemented, in both the letter and the spirit of the law, and made immediately available to hardworking families as college graduation approaches. Extended dependent care is a simple solution that makes health insurance affordable for young adults at no cost to taxpayers. Now that insurance companies have offered to implement this reform immediately, we need to ensure that no one, especially dedicated federal employees in Pennsylvania and nationwide, is excluded from this benefit,” said Dahlkemper.
“There is broad public support for accelerating the implementation of provisions in the health insurance reform law like this one,” Connolly said. “With college and high school graduations fast approaching, this legislation will ensure that federal employees can keep their sons and daughters on their health care plans now and save thousands of out-of-pocket dollars.”
To read a copy of the legislation, click here.