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Idea: Let’s Add Our Parents to our Health Insurance

If an idea created in California catches on, people may soon be able to add parents to their health insurance plans.

While people can have their children on their health insurance plans through age 26, there is no provision to add dependent parents to health insurance plans. That may soon change in the nation’s largest state if a new bill passes. This may have implications for the future of the entire health insurance industry as well.

Health insurance for the vast majority of the elderly who live in America is covered by Medicare or Medicaid. However, there is a small elderly population who generally aren’t covered by these health insurance programs.

The bill, which is currently named AB-570: Dependent Parent Health Coverage Bill (full text of the bill is here), seeks to allow dependent parents to be added to their adult children’s healthcare plans the same way that adult children can be added to their parents’ healthcare plans (until they are 26). This would drastically benefit those who are caring for incapacitated parents, and may help fill in the gaps that Medicare doesn’t cover (Medicare doesn’t cover dental care, eye care, hearing care and more). The bill also allows people to add undocumented parents to their health insurance as well.

Need to fill in Medicare gaps? Check out our guide on Medigap coverage here).

AB-570 comes on the heels of another California bill that has already influenced other states to reevaluate the way health insurance works, and may end up influencing the future of healthcare in the United States as a whole as well.

Los Angeles assemblyman Miguel Santiago, who sponsored AB-570, says that this is more than a healthcare issue; this is a human rights issue:

“(There are people who) can’t give (their parents) a very basic right to health care through their own coverage plan. This is critical. It’s the humane thing to do.”

-Assemblyman Miguel Santiago

Not surprisingly, there has been some solid opposition to this bill, even outside of the political arena. For example, a coalition of several of California’s chambers of commerce released an open letter (see full text here) that says while the bill is “well-intentioned”, it will cast a burden on small businesses that will be too much to bear, especially when considering California’s recent changes to increase corporate taxation. Here are a few sentences from the letter:

“This bill will place an additional strain on struggling businesses for coverage that is already accessible and affordable for those who need it. …for these reasons, and others, we are respectfully OPPOSED to AB 570” (Caps were in original letter).

At the time of the publication of this article, AB 570 is under debate in the California Assembly (the equivalent of the house of representatives in other states). Regardless of the outcome, it will be interesting to see the discussion this bill will create.

Where to Get Health Insurance

Whether shopping for Medigap coverage for senior parents or searching for a health insurance plan for yourself, Health Plan Options Today covers it all, and has a team of experts that can help you find the right plan for your needs and budget. Call our hotline at 888-375-8879 or click the button below to get started!

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