09/21/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Illinois Extends Young Adult Health Coverage Under Parents Plans

A new state law says young adults can be covered on their parents' insurance plans until age 26, regardless of their whether or not they still live at home or out of state.

The bill signed into law by the Illinois Senate this week and supported by Gov. Blagojevich, would take effect on January 1 of next year.

According to a Tribune report, an estimated 300,000 young men and women could be eligible for the extended health coverage. But, lobbyists for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and other business proponents have already begun arguing against the new law, saying it would drive up healthcare costs.

Currently Illinois insurance plans are not required to have a standard
age limit on coverage for young adults. Some plans end at age 21 and
some extend coverage as long as the child is a full-time college

Some opponents argue such coverage would attract unhealthy adults and drive up costs. Others claim the majority of this age group is indeed generally healthy and therefore able to purchase individual coverage affordably elsewhere. 

Of course, neither argument makes much sense when one considers the number of uninsured young adults in the nation which totals in the millions. Young adults aren't just being plain lazy about getting insured. Many simply can't afford it on meager part-time salaries they earn while studying.

 A Reuters report from May focused on the nationwide problem.

"Based on census data, 13.7 million people aged 19 to 29 had no health insurance, either public or private, in 2006, up from 13.3 million in 2005, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that researches health policy."