The Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies (ACLHIC), a Sacramento-based group that advocates key insurance issues before legislative and administrative bodies hoped to “set the record straight” pertaining to certain aspects of SB 220, chapter 126, Statutes of 2011.

The confusion seems to have originated from a reading of the law that confused elements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)that requires employers to cover dependents up to age 26. “While the offer of dependent coverage is required under the health insurance law, it is optional under group life insurance law,” said Brad Wenger, president of the ACLHIC.

Employers are permitted but not forced to provide group life insurance coverage to dependents of certificate holders up to age 26. Employers are also permitted but not required to provide group life coverage to married children up to age 26. The law states that the premiums for the insurance may be paid by the employer, the employee or, a combination of the two.

Wenger said, “There appears to be a basic misunderstanding with respect to the operative effect of SB 220, Chapter 126, Statues of 2011. As sponsors of this measure, we wish to underscore that both the statute that this bill amended and the new language is permissive,” Wenger said.