On a recent conference call Phyllis Borzi, Assistant Secretary of Labor was asked repeatedly whether or not the effective date for health plans to cover adult children to age twenty-six was deferred to the end of an existing collectively bargaining agreement.
She replied that the age 26 rule for children applied right away (first plan year after September 23) and there was no special deferral for a collectively bargained plan. When the question was asked again she was quite emphatic in restating her answer. Part of her logic was that this provision was not very expensive and therefore there was no need for a delay.
Some attorneys question whether that view is supported by the legislation. However, it may be that the Administration is trying to get all of the obvious people friendly aspects of PPACA into affect as soon as possible and the response given is part of that strategy. Employers may protest, but it is doubtful the affected employees or their unions will be too upset, except of course, the addition of these children is expected to add about 1% to the cost of coverage.