UnitedHealthcare scored a major PR coup today, announcing that it would allow dependents up to the age of 26 to remain covered on their parents’ policies regardless of this month’s Supreme Court’s ruling on ObamaCare. That very popular coverage is the one thing that Republicans and Democrats agree on.
The Commonwealth Fund reported June 8 that between November 2010 and 2011 an estimated 13.7M people aged 19-25 stayed on or joined their parents’ plans. That included 6.6M who would not have been able to do prior to the Affordable Care Act.
UHC’s pledge is for anyone under 26, including those who are not enrolled in school, not dependents on their parents’ tax returns or those who are married.
The Minnetonka, Minn.-based company also will continue blood pressure/diabetes screening and annual preventive health visits without co-pays.
In a vote of support for ObamaCare, Stephen Hemsley, UHC CEO, said: “The protections we are voluntarily extending are good for people’s health, promote broader access to healthcare services and contribute to helping control rising healthcare costs.”
Today’s move is a PR win-win-win situation for UHC, which serves more than 38M people.
The nation’s largest insurer by market value will be viewed as the pace-setter if other insurers follow its lead.
If they fail to do so and the Supremes ax ObamaCare, UHG will be in line for more customers scrambling to get coverage for their kids, who already face a tough job situation and crushing education debt.
If the age 26 provision survives a High Court decision to kill parts of ACA, UHC will be remembered for doing the right thing.