Christine Stuart file photo
Rep. Linda Schofield, D-Simsbury (Christine Stuart file photo )

In Connecticut an estimated 24 percent of young adults ages 19 to 26 years old are uninsured, but lawmakers are hoping that number goes down Jan. 1 when young adults in this age group are allowed to stay on their parent’s health insurance.

“Many people tend to blame young adults for thinking they are immortal and therefore not obtaining benefits. But the reality is, many don’t yet have a job after leaving school or don’t have access to benefits in their starter jobs,” state Rep. Linda Schofield, D-Simsbury, said last week at a press conference.

As part of a law passed by the legislature back in 2007, young adults up to age 26 years old will be able to stay on their parent’s health insurance as long as they live in the state of Connecticut.

Previously young unmarried adults who attended an accredited school full-time could remain on their family’s insurance plan until their 23rd birthday, but now if they live in Connecticut they no longer have to be enrolled in school full-time or even part-time to qualify for their parents benefits. 

“Parents are not obliged to continue to pay for family benefits if they do not want to do so, so young adults better be nice to their parents,” Schofield said.

The press conference was held last week because lawmakers said they wanted to let people know before they re-enroll in their health insurance plans with their employers. Schofield said a vast majority of insurance companies hold their open enrollment periods in November and December for benefit plans that go into effect on Jan. 1.

Stephen Jewett, communications director for ConnectiCare and member of the Connecticut Association of Health Plans, said once again Connecticut is ahead of the curve in implementing this law.

“It’s a smart common sense approach,” Jewett said. He said his company is currently notifying its customers about the changes.

Rep. Brian O’Connor, D-Clinton, said the law is written in a way that requires insurance brokers to inform their employers of the new changes.