Clearly, I’m far from objective about the dependent eligibility extension under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. So, perhaps take this post with a grain — or a pillar — of salt.

That said, I don’t think I’m the only one who was a little peeved by news that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is pressing self-insured employers to keep young adults up to age 26 on their parents’ health plans before they’re legally required to do so.

Of course, we all know that employers have until the beginning of the next plan year after Sept. 23 (which for most plans, isn’t until Jan. 1) to extend dependent eligibility to the youngsters. And research shows many employers will take every day of that time to comply. I say, rightly so.

That’s like MasterCard sending me a bill with a due date of July 1, but then sending me a separate note saying they think I should pay the bill three weeks early. Excuse me?

Sebelius, speaking at a news conference two weeks ago, obviously sees nothing wrong with the arm-twisting, though, saying HHS and Department of Labor officials are “reaching out to large employer groups asking them to look at an opportunity to open the plans earlier than mandated and make this coverage available,” Kaiser Heath News reports.

“We believe that it is potentially cost effective to do just that rather than disenrolling young adults and then having to outreach and reenroll them,” the secretary said. “This may actually be a cost-saver overall.”

Well, with all due respect, Madam Secretary, how about you let the people actually paying for the plans determine what method of compliance will be the best cost-saver? Just a thought.

What do you think? Any chance you’ll comply with the dependent eligibility extension early? Am I the only one who thinks Sebelius is being pushy? Sound off in the comments.

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