With all the confusion surrounding the dependent coverage rules under the health care reform bill, we’d like to take a moment to provide some clarity.
First things first: The definition of an eligible dependent is a biological or legally adopted child up to age 26, even if married.
Just as important, you must comply with the new eligibility rules if your plan year begins on or just after September 23.
Some of the eligibility rules to keep in mind:
=> Dependents don’t need to be enrolled in school or be financially dependent on their parents
=> The spouses or children of adult dependents aren’t eligible for coverage
=> You must invite all dependents back during your company’s enrollment period – including those previously dropped or whose parents opted out of your plan
As you might imagine, a change like this requires some targeted communication on your part. This means reviewing and updating all your company’s printed and electronic information (such as enrollment materials and benefits-related websites) to include the new dependent definition and eligibility guidelines.