WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn released the following statement today in response to announcements by United Healthcare and WellPoint that they will expand coverage to young adults ahead of a requirement under the new health reform law.  The new law requires insurance companies starting in September, to provide coverage for graduating college seniors and young adults under the age of 26.

“I commend the decision by United Healthcare and WellPoint to voluntarily extend health coverage to graduating college students before the new law goes into effect. With college graduation right around the corner, this news gives families across the country peace of mind; no longer do they have to worry about their children being dropped from their coverage after they graduate from college.

“I also applaud the efforts of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to expedite efforts to encourage insurance companies to provide coverage to graduating college seniors and young adults before the new law goes into effect.  I am hopeful that other insurance companies will follow the leadership of United Healthcare and WellPoint.”

Additional measures of the Patient Protection and Affordability Act that go into effect this year are listed below.

FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Small Business tax credits – 35 % of premiums this year, 50% in 2014

FOR SENIORS:

Closing the Medicare Part D Donut Hole – Immediate $250 rebate; next year, 50% discount on brand names; fully closed by 2020

Free preventative care under Medicare – No co-payments and deductibles

Help for early retirees – Temporary coverage for ages 55-64

FOR THOSE PRIVATELY INSURED

No Discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions

Ban on insurance plans dropping you if you get sick

Ban on lifetime coverage limits

Tightly regulates annual limits on coverage under new plans (all plans in 2014)

Free preventive care under new plans

New, independent appeals process under new plans

More for your premium dollar – Plans must put more of your premiums into your care; less into profits, CEO pay (80% ? 85% depending on market size)

FOR THOSE UNINSURED

Coverage in High-Risk Pool if you have a pre-existing condition (discrimination ban extends to all adults in 2014 when Exchanges have been created, high?risk pool phases out)

Extend coverage to 26th birthday through parents’ insurance

GENERAL REFORMS

Community Health Centers – Investment to double patients served

More primary care doctors – New investment in training

MORE REFORMS THAT BEGIN IN 2014

No discrimination against adults with pre-existing conditions

Ban on higher premiums for women

Premiums based on age can only vary by a maximum of a 3-to-1 ratio cap on out-of-pocket expenses