Regence announces plan to extend health care coverage for young members

Initiative addresses coverage gap that typically leaves students and young people uninsured

(PORTLAND, OR) – Regence, the largest insurer in the Northwest/Intermountain Region, announced today that it is taking action to prevent a gap in coverage that could leave many young members uninsured.

As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, young adults will be able to stay on their parents’ employer-offered or individual family health plans up until age 26 beginning September 23, 2010. This would result in a coverage gap for many individuals in the months before this provision is fully implemented.

In advance of this new law, Regence will allow currently insured individuals under age 26 to remain on their parents’ individual health insurance policies effective June 1. The company will also offer this extension of coverage to its employer groups for their employees.

“Regence has long supported health care reform and we believe this is a practical, positive step toward providing our members and their families with high quality, affordable health care coverage,” said Mark Ganz, President and CEO of Regence. “Consumers are confused about what health care reform means to them, and by making these changes now, we ensure that our young members continue to have access to the health care they need.”

This extension applies to Regence members who currently have coverage and would lose that coverage during the gap between June 1 and the effective date of the new law. Large, self-insured businesses will continue to determine their own eligibility requirements until the law takes effect in September. Until then, these businesses will have the option to extend this benefit to their employees, and Regence will encourage them to do so.

About Regence
Regence is the largest health insurer in the Northwest / Intermountain Region, offering health, life and dental insurance. Regence serves more than 2.5 million members as Regence BlueShield of Idaho, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield (selected counties in Washington). Each health plan is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is committed to improving the health of our members and our communities, and to transforming our health care system. For more information, please visit www.regence.com or follow us on Twitter.