Does new health law require us to cover dependents?

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

Q. We offer health insurance coverage only for individual employees. We’ve never provided family coverage for anyone, nor do we make it available at the employee’s cost. An employee with a daughter in grad school says the new health care law requires that she be allowed to add her daughter to the plan because she is younger than 26. Is this true? — L.L., Michigan

A. Your employee is mistaken and may have been confused by what she has heard in the news about health care reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act does require employers that provide dependent coverage to allow employees’ dependents to remain on the employer-sponsored plan until age 26 if they so choose. However, there is nothing in the law that requires employers to offer dependent coverage. So, as long you continue to offer only individual coverage, this requirement will not affect you or your company’s health plan.

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