About 950,000 workers will be able to get dependent health coverage for young-adult children earlier than required by the new Affordable Care Act.
Hewitt Associates L.L.C., Lincolnshire, Ill., has based that estimate on a survey of about 500 large U.S. employers with 6.9 million employees with health coverage.
About 19% of the employers will be providing early access to dependent coverage for the children of covered employees up to age 26.
About 10% of the employers will voluntarily extend coverage early for all adult children and another 9% will do so for graduating students already covered under the health plan.
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The young adult dependent access mandate is set to take effect this fall.
About 77% of the employers that participated in the Hewitt survey plan to wait to extend access to health care coverage until they are required to do so. In most cases, expanded access will be available starting Jan. 1, 2011.
About 57% of the employers said they have estimated the cost of expanding dependent coverage access to adult children, and 18% of those employers expect the change to result in a plan cost increase of less than 1%.