There is another avenue for gaining health insurance for our kids with preexisting conditions that allows for a better level of coverage than seems to be reflected in your story. ("23 and uninsured," Your Money, May 18.)
When our son, Sam, lost his coverage under our policy after his 23rd birthday, we opted to continue his coverage under COBRA. We continued to pay for coverage under COBRA for the three years allowed and, during the last six months or so, began searching for a way to get him other coverage.
With much digging we found that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 provides that if an insured party loses their insurance benefits and has expended all COBRA benefits, the insurance company must offer that person comparable insurance.
Blue Cross offers several HIPAA plans, and we chose one that had very similar benefits to those Sam had enjoyed under our policy. The deductible and co-pays were somewhat higher, but the monthly premiums were quite a bit less than we were paying under COBRA.
The story "23 and uninsured" just touched on what is a very frustrating aspect of getting coverage for young adults: COBRA premiums. COBRA really becomes important if there are any preexisting conditions to consider. The problem can be additionally compounded if, as in our case, the child moves or stays out of state.
We experienced an increase of more than 300% in premiums to continue coverage under COBRA.
It certainly seems like an opportunistic fee schedule on the insurance company's part.