It seems that the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has brought out my inner curmudgeon — especially the dependent eligibility extension that allows young adults (keyword: adults) stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.

It’s been making me think things like, “When I was that age, no one gave me free ride — I had to get a job to get health insurance! I had to buy COBRA when I lost a job! I had to try to buy insurance for myself once — and got denied because of a pre-existing condition! The government is helping coddle these young people! How will young adults learn about the cost of health care if their parents and their parents’ employers pay the bills until they’re 26?!”

Seriously, people, I’m two clicks away from yelling “Get off my lawn!”

Perhaps you’re feeling the same way, especially since your company’s money will be on the line to cover these young adults (again, keyword: adults). And in practically the same breath, the government is telling you how much extra it will cost you and that you can’t charge a dime to recoup the additional expense.

Recently, the Health and Human Services Department released cost estimates of how much it will cost employers to implement the dependent eligibility extension, quoting an extra $3,380 per dependent that will raise premiums about 0.7% in 2011. Keep in mind though, HHS calls these “mid-range” (in other words, modest) estimates.  According to the AP, some 1.2 million youngsters are expected to sign up.

None of these 1.2 million need to be in school or have a job. And they can’t be charged more than other dependents, or receive less comprehensive benefits. You have to take on the financial and personnel costs of mid-year enrollments, and then offer the young people COBRA after they blow out their 27th birthday candles.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like more than a 0.7% increase to me. It’s enough to make you yell, “Get off my lawn!”

What about you? Are you feeling curmudgeonly or compassionate toward the dependent eligibility extension? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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