Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Slacker Mandate

When my children were 18, they launched themselves into the everyday blue and pink collar work world, anxious to prove themselves and get away from Mom and Dad. And health insurance coverage, as I discovered. I don't know what the rules are today, but in 1987 unless your child was being supported by you and attending college, they were no longer on the family dole for insurance. I think college students could stay on a policy until age 23. No amount of cajoling or bribery could get them to enroll at any of our wonderful colleges or state university. So we did what any intelligent, frugal parent would do, we eventually purchased "temporary" catastrophic health insurance for them in their own names.

One of the reasons young adults don't sign on for company health benefits is they have immature brains--it's called the "nothing can happen to me" syndrome. And actuarially, they are among the healthiest segment of the population. The huge risk, in my mind, was auto accidents (young adults are also big risk takers), and they both had one before age 20. Obama wants you to assume that risk for everyone's primarily healthy young adult--it's called the "Slacker Mandate." This raises the cost for everyone to insure a very tiny group--the irresponsible, but healthy young adults who won't pony up the cost of a pizza and beer for their company co-pay. SCHIP, the government insurance plan for families earning less than $83,000 for a family of 4*, already considers a 28 year old of lower income parents a "child."

CAHI: "As one of his "Health Insurance Consumer Protections," President Obama intends to extend a family-policy's coverage to young adults up to 26 years old.

He's following a state trend. The Council for Affordable Health Insurance tracks all state health insurance mandates -- there are currently 2,133 state mandates nationwide -- and more and more states are mandating health insurers cover young adults. Some states are even pushing the age limit up to 30. It's often called the "slacker mandate" because these adults are still on their family's policy."

So you see, we have Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, and all these mandates from the various levels of government requiring coverage of the oddies and endies and non-disease diseases and conditions. If you can't get the elephant into the living room through the front door, dismantle the entire back of the house and push him in that way. But you better have a big pooper scooper on hand.

*Figure varies by state. It can be as high as $120,000 for a family of 8, not poverty in my book. Congress created the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 1997 to provide public health insurance for families who could not afford private coverage yet earned too much to qualify for Medicaid. SCHIP gave states flexibility to set income eligibility. Some states exceed 250% Federal Poverty Level while others have proposed limits up to 400%.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

S-CHIP was for all the naysayers who didn't believe the Welfare Reform of the 90s would work. They hated to lose those people they'd made dependent. Like most gov't programs that began with good intentions it just grew and grew and grew