New Ohio health care law allows people to stay on parents’ plans until age 28

Rose Schneider and Rose Schneider

Beginning July 1, Ohioans will be able to stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 28, despite the new federal health care law which only goes up to 26.

Carly Glick, director of communications for the Ohio Department of Insurance, said the new law became effective in October through the state budget bill.

Glick said although the new federal health care law requires insurers to allow people to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans up to age 26, the new Ohio law will still stand and not be affected.

“The child does not have to be living at home and doesn’t have to be a student,” Glick said. “The only requirement is it’s an unmarried child that must be either a natural child, a step-child or an adopted child of the employee.”

Glick said other requirements include not being currently employed by an employer who offers health insurance benefits where a child is eligible, and a person cannot be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.

“Starting this year, more than one million young adults in Ohio will be able to stay on their parent’s plan,” said Christina Tamburro, press secretary of Organizing for America Ohio. “By 2014, when the health insurance exchanges are fully operational, nearly two million Ohioans under 30-years-old will have access to less-costly catastrophic-only health plans — meaning, they will have the ability to purchase and utilize comprehensive health insurance plans.”

Glick said this new law is a part of Ohio’s health care initiative to make health insurance more affordable for its citizens.

Junior Caitlin Orr said she is thrilled she can now choose to stay on her parents’ health insurance plan.

“It’s sad when you’re 23, 24 and don’t have a job, you can’t even go to the emergency room because you don’t have insurance,” she said. “I think it’s really frustrating. It’s awesome that my family can [now] support me, at least for a little while.”

This new Ohio law is supposed to act more as an additional option, said Rebecca Ferguson, the University’s chief human resources officer.

“If you are a dependent who graduates and has had serious health problems, you are now able to have the option of either purchasing an individual plan, which would be more costly because of health risks, or staying on your parents’ plan,” she said.

“If you’re healthy, you’re going to be able to pick up a health insurance coverage for you at not much cost, individually,” Ferguson said. “So that’s one option for you.

“Or because you’ve graduated and haven’t found a job yet, you go back to mom and dad and you say pick me up and put me in your health insurance plan.”

As for the University, Ferguson said everything is still being worked out.

“With the Ohio law, we know we’re going to have to offer an opportunity for dependents of our employees who lose their health care,” Ferguson said.

She said the University is still figuring out the details of where the money is going to come from to support the new law.

“We have to do it, so we have to make sure that we’re not going to increase our cost too much,” she said.

Ferguson said each employer in Ohio now has to figure out where the money will come from because the law was passed without funding.

“Last year as an employer, Bowling Green State University took 102 dependent children off of BGSU’s insurance because they had reached the threshold requirement,” Ferguson said. “With the change of the law, all 102 of those individuals could potentially be coming back.”

Glick said she thinks 20,000 more Ohioans will have health insurance through the change.