Regaining health care coverage becomes an option for young adults

Millions of 20-somethings who became uninsured after falling off their parents' health plans can regain coverage soon as a key provision of the federal health care overhaul law takes effect.

As the open enrollment season begins, parents will be able to include grown children up to age 26 on their coverage.

The new law goes into effect Sept. 23 and requires insurers and companies to offer the coverage as part of the open enrollment period, the time of year when health plan subscribers can change plans and coverage.

State workers and other public employees covered by CalPERS health plans will be among the first to take advantage of the new rule, as open enrollment begins later this month.

As many as 8.8 million young adults between the ages of 19 and 25 were uninsured in 2008, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

In California, about 1.3 million in that age group could benefit from the new rule, according to Young Invincibles, an advocacy group pushing to expand health insurance coverage among the country's young.

"When you have economic times like these, it's critical (for young people) to have that sense of security while they are looking for gainful employment," said Ari Matusiak, who chairs Young Invincibles, which formed last summer during the pitched debate over national health care overhaul.

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