Good policy, good PR, or both? UnitedHealthcare announced yesterday that it will extend the health coverage that graduating college students currently have under their parents' plans until the new health reform provision requiring dependent coverage up to age 26 is fully implemented – a full four months ahead of when they’re required to do so.

Hmmm, seems things are getting interesting.

As you know, under 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, regardless of student status or marital status. However, this extension does not take effect for employer-sponsored plans until Sept. 23.

"We want students to graduate into a secure future, not the ranks of the uninsured, so we are working with employers to make sure these young adults have health coverage available to them ahead of the new requirements," says UnitedHealthcare President Gail Boudreaux. "Accelerating the dependent coverage extension timeline for our graduating student enrollees is another tangible step we are taking to help translate the new, complex health reform directives into workable reality."

I don’t know whether UnitedHealthcare is being altruistic or cunning with this announcement, and I won’t speculate. But there is a sort of PR genius to this move, don’t you think?

Do you think other carriers will follow suit? Do you even want them to, or are you perfectly happy to have the summer to get this thing sorted out? You know what to do – hit the comments.

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