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From the Desk of Senator Craig Johnson: August 14, 2009

Major Legislation to
Extend Health Insurance Coverage to
Young Adults Signed Into Law

Important legislation that will improve access to affordable health insurance for young adults between the ages of 19 and 29 recently passed the Senate and has been signed into law by Governor David Paterson.

This bill (S.6030), said Senator Craig Johnson, requires commercial insurers, nonprofit corporations and HMOs to offer an option for unmarried young adults through age 29, regardless of financial dependence, to continue under a parent’s group health insurance policy. It also extends a COBRA-like benefit to this young adult population.

Previously, many young adults lost their health insurance due to an inability to continue to be covered by their parents’ plan at 19, or upon graduating from college at the age of 23. Faced with either no access to health insurance of their own, or with prohibitively expensive coverage, many in this age group went without any health coverage.

Johnson notes that 31 percent of New York State’s uninsured falls within this age bracket.

“This problem is even more pronounced in Long Island and other parts of the state where the high cost of living has caused many young adults to choose between rent and their health,” said Johnson, who is a member of the Senate Insurance Committee. “This is a common-sense measure that will allow parents, if they have the resources, to continue to assist their children, while at the same time helping to combat this epidemic of the uninsured.”

This legislation will take effect Sept. 1.