davidclarksm3It used to be the case that when children reach the age of 25, they automatically disqualify from their parents’ health insurance plan. This sudden loss of coverage introduces an anxious burden on families as many of these children are recent college graduates who cannot necessarily find employment with health coverage. With the weight of college loans, families cannot afford to purchase private insurance, which are cost prohibitive by themselves. And, it is not uncommon for these new graduates to be on prescriptions that should not be abruptly discontinued.

David Clark, who graduated this past Summer, faced these dilemmas. Here’s a video of his mother, Wendy, speaking on their experience:

On July 29th, Governor Paterson signed a series of 3 health care bills–one of which extends coverage for dependent children through age 29. The bill defines a “dependent child” as an unmarried child through the age of 29 of an employee or member insured under a group contract, who is not a named insured under any other group insurance policy and is not eligible for coverage under Medicare. Children are not required to be financially dependent on their parents to elect this benefit.

David is now covered under his parent’s policy.

This law has had a huge impact on families, like the Clarks, and has helped many younger people in New York get coverage. But, there’s still along way to go before everyone in America is covered. And that’s why we need to keep fighting.

Kristin Barron is a health care activist with Citizen Action. She lives with her family in Albany. She’s on disability, and her husband has a lower-wage job with the state.

Kristin’s daughter, Kaitlyn Barron-Shashok, 23, recently left her job and thereby lost her health insurance.

Kristin and her family were hopeful when they heard about this new law that might allow Kaitlyn to stay on Kristin’s husband’s insurance plan.

But, while insurance companies are required to allow dependents up to age 29 stay on their parents’ plan, there’s a provision in the law that allows employers to avoid paying the additional premiums. That means the families would need to cover the cost of the policy for the child themselves.

Kristin’s husband’s employer won’t pay the cost to keep Kaitlyn on the policy. Kristin was informed that it would cost an additional $500 a month to keep Kaitlyn covered – a cost that neither Kaitlyn, who is currently unemployed, nor her parents can afford.

Here’s a video of Kristin telling her story:

This is why our fight for federal health care reform is so important.

Kaitlyn has elected to purchase extended COBRA coverage, which is affordable, but the plan doesn’t have good benefits. If Kaitlyn were to get sick, her family would encounter serious financial trouble.

Our big picture victories really do have a positive impact on the lives of ordinary people. But our work is never done.

That’s why we need you to help us continue our fight in 2010. Take a moment right now to chip in – to make sure that next year, we can include Kaitlyn’s updated story – a story about how one young person has health insurance, and her parents’ have peace of mind, because of the work Citizen Action does every day.

Especially during these hard economic times, Citizen Action relies on committed people like you to make sure we can keep doing good work for New Yorkers and everyone in America. We can’t do it without you. Click here to make your contribution now!