INDIANAPOLIS, April 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP), the nation's largest health insurer by medical membership, announced today that it will take steps to prevent a gap in coverage that could leave many young Americans uninsured.
Each year in June, many individuals are no longer eligible as dependents on their parents' insurance policies because of their age, student status or other factors. Health care reform legislation, signed into law last month, will extend the dependent age for coverage to 26 for plan years beginning September 23, 2010. As such, many individuals would face a coverage gap during the months before this provision is fully implemented.
As a proactive measure to assist its members, WellPoint's affiliated health plans, working in collaboration with the US Department of Health and Human Services and state regulators, will allow young men and women to remain on their parents' policies even before this health care reform provision takes effect. Beginning June 1, WellPoint's affiliated health plans will automatically retain these young individuals on their parents' policies in both fully insured group and individual health plans. Our self insured clients and members will have the option of not offering this extended coverage.
"Protecting access to health benefits for members is our first priority," said WellPoint's Chief Strategy and External Affairs Officer, Bradley Fluegel. "We are pleased to lead the way in advancing the intent of health care reform; increasing access to affordable, quality coverage."
About WellPoint, Inc.
WellPoint works to simplify the connection between Health, Care and Value. We help to improve the health of our communities, deliver better care to members, and provide greater value to our customers and shareholders. WellPoint is the nation's largest health benefits company, with more than 33 million members in its affiliated health plans. As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In a majority of these service areas, WellPoint does business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield or Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (in the New York service areas). WellPoint also serves customers throughout the country as UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com.