News Release

15,000 Young Oregonians Can Now Keep Coverage

New OSPIRG Guide Explains Coverage Options for Young People and their Families

An estimated 15,000 young adults and their families in Oregon could benefit from a new provision of the federal health care law, effective today, that allows parents to keep their adult children on their family coverage plan until age 26.

“I am very thankful that I can stay on my family insurance for another few years,” said Tom Pearson, a recent graduate from Willamette University. “I looked into an individual plan, but the cost was astronomical and there was no way I could afford it. Now I have an affordable way to stay covered.”

Katie Taylor, a current student at the University of Oregon, is also benefitting from the new protections, “Without the law, my insurance company would kick me off my family’s plan next month when I turn 24,” she explained, “I’ve got asthma – a pre-existing condition – so I’d get denied for insurance on my own. Thanks to this law, I’ll be able to stay on my family insurance plan for my remaining two years at college.”

Dave Rosenfeld, OSPIRG’s Executive Director says young people and their families across the state are benefitting. “Today is a good day for young Oregonians who care about staying healthy,” he said. “Families can breathe a little easier knowing their adult children can stay on their plan.”

OSPIRG marked the day by releasing a new consumer guide, The Young Person’s Guide to Health Insurance. The guide features advice for young people seeking coverage, information about consumer rights under the new law, and includes an introduction by President Barack Obama.

Joel Ario, former Oregon Insurance Administrator now serving as the Director of the Office of Health Insurance Exchanges at the Department of Health and Human Services, visited Oregon Thursday to promote the new consumer protections.

In his prepared remarks for today’s event, Ario says that “thanks to the Affordable Care Act we have begun to create a more competitive, consumer-friendly healthcare marketplace, to crack down on the worst insurance company abuses, and to provide real benefits to people in need of relief. Oregonians should be proud that they are at the cutting edge of implementing these reforms and getting the benefits to the people who need them. Today marks an excellent first step towards more affordable health care for millions of American families. The option to keep young people on the family health plan is one example of many protections going into effect today, and there are many more on the way.”

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley issued a statement to commemorate the day, saying “the elements of the Health Care Bill of Rights implemented today are powerful improvements for Americans. Expanded coverage for young adults, coverage for children and adults with pre-existing conditions, and the end to dumping and bumping of people off plans when they are sick or injured will greatly improve health care in America.”

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