By Anthony Kimbrough
With some friendly advice and counseling from her pastor, my sister-in-law identified the problem and enlisted her husband’s help to work through it. After all, he was at least equally responsible.
And so, a year later, she summed it up to us this way: “I had no identity. I would come home after work and expect to go somewhere, and there would be nowhere to go. I was Kyle’s mother, and he was gone. And before that, I was Matthew’s mother, and he was gone.”
We soccer moms and dads listened to my sister-in-law as she warned us that our days are coming. Those little dependents we transport and chase from one place to the next will someday be gone. While they’re spreading their wings at college or in the workplace, we’ll be left to decide what to do when no children are around to make that decision for us.
She’s right. The family unit is dynamic; it changes, and probably none of those changes is bigger than when a youngster leaves home. Aside from the emotional baggage to unpack and sort through, there is stuff that just has to be done.
One aspect that matters significantly is how that independency affects health-care coverage for an individual. Of the 180,000+ lives we cover at TRH Health Plans, thousands are children and young adults covered on a family plan. Generally, dependents are eligible as long as they are under age 24, are a full-time student and don’t earn more than 51 percent of their financial support. So when something changes – if Matthew gets a full-time job or turns 24 – his parents’ health-care coverage requires them to notify us. (Similar notification is also required when other “family status” changes occur. Notification is important so that claims are not denied when it has been determined someone no longer meets the dependent eligibility guidelines.)
But here’s the good news about this transition period: When Matthew leaves home for good or turns 24, with TRH Health Plans he has a soft place to land. An individual on a TRH family plan who becomes an ineligible dependent has 60 days to apply for his or her own individual coverage, without underwriting and without being subject to waiting periods. That means Matthew is guaranteed coverage with TRH, regardless of any health condition or any previous claims.
The same goes for children’s plans. Once a child covered by a children’s policy turns 18 and becomes ineligible for that coverage, he or she can transfer to an individual coverage without underwriting. This portability is one of the strongest features TRH Health Plans offers, and it’s why many families should take a look at our children’s plans, even if they have a family plan through an employer. Many employers offer no family plans, or only offer them at very high rates. A TRH children’s plan could save that family considerable money.
We can’t keep your children young forever, but we can cover them forever, if you let us.