California bill would create new dependent parent health plan regulations

Dependent parent health plan - grandparents

As adult children care for aging family members, insurance law may adapt health care coverage.

A new dependent parent health plan bill has been making California insurance news. The idea behind Assembly Bill 570 is to allow caregiver children to add their parents to their policies.

Twelve percent of US parents with a child under 18 years are also caring for another adult.

As the population ages, a growing number of families are taking care of older family members. The new dependent parent health plan bill would make it possible for caregivers to be able to add their parents to their coverage. This is meant to help address the challenges faced in the rising trend among families providing unpaid care for a family member over the age of 50 years. That figure has risen notably in the last half decade. Similarly, another growing trend is the number of caregivers who share a household with the recipient of the care.

Children whose parent or parent-in-law is under their care are also frequently responsible for that family member’s wellness management. This includes responsibilities ranging from monitoring conditions to communicating with medical care providers. Last week, Assembly Bill 570 was introduced by California State Assembly Member Miguel Santiago.

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The bill would mandate dependent parent health plan coverage in these caregiving situations.

AB570 would require individual or group health care service plan contracts or insurance policies to provide dependent parents with coverage. This bill does not introduce an age limit for qualifying for coverage, but Santiago pointed out an existing problem with the access to senior health care which has only worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic.

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara added to Santiago’s point, stating that the bill could provide important health insurance cost relief to California families whose struggles have only increased due to the heightened risk older adults face in the pandemic. It was also noted that this bill would provide immigrant families with younger working adults caring for older undocumented family members with financial relief in covering medical care costs.

Dependent parent health plan - grandparentsIf the dependent parent health plan bill is passed, it would require that as of January 1, 2022, all new, amended and renewed policies must allow for coverage of qualified parents, parents-in-law and stepparents under their children’s care.

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