-Coverage for dependent children up to age; regardless of whether they are enrolled in school, are married, or (beginning 2014) have coverage available from their own employer;-Removal of lifetime and annual benefit limits;-Fees for comparative effectiveness research; and-Fees to help fund the public exchanges.
UVA officials announced a similar policy yesterday, also referencing the costs Obamacare will add to the university’s health care budget.This may not seem like a big deal—either way, the spouses will be insured—but it points to some potential problems. For now, UPS and other companies are continuing to cover unemployed spouses, but given their anxiety about steep costs in the era of Obamacare, they could concievably soon decide to exclude them.
This could put more pressure on the exchanges, ramping up the number of older people receiving subsidized plans in the individual market. But what the exchanges need to work is more “young invincibles”, not more middle-aged spouses kicked off employee plans. And here the incentives seem to be working the opposite way. Wonkblog reports that 7.8 million young adults gained insurance in the last three years because of Obamacare’s provision allowing them to stay on their parents’ plan until they’re 26. In other words, as Obamacare’s costs force the exchanges’ pool to age, another provision removes more young people from the individual market by letting them stay on their parents’ insurance.In the coming month, as preparations ramp up toward the October launch of the exchanges, expect more and more of these unintended consequences to come to light.