Bookmark and Share

Dependent Coverage Provision FAQs


The State of Alaska remains diligent in its evaluation and implementation planning of the hundreds of provisions contained within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Specifically, regarding the provision within PPACA mandating extended health care benefits to dependent children up to age 26, the State is in full compliance.  Below are questions and answers about how PPACA’s dependent coverage to age 26 affects AlaskaCare Employee and Retiree health plans differently.

AlaskaCare Retiree Health Plan

When did the AlaskaCare Retiree Health Plan begin to cover dependents up to age 26?

According to the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Labor, and Treasury which issued joint regulations Monday, June 14, 2010, the AlaskaCare Retiree Health Plan’s Public Employee Retirement System (PERS), Teachers Retirement System (TRS), Judicial Retirement System (JRS), and Elected Public Officers Retirement System (EPORS) health plans are not subject to the PPACA dependent children provision.

Top of page

Why isn’t the AlaskaCare Retiree Health Plan subject to the PPACA legislation?

PPACA changes the laws governing employer provided health coverage and individual coverage purchased from an insurer only; retiree plans are not subject to the laws or PPACA.

Top of page

AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan

When did the AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan begin to cover dependents up to age 26?

The State implemented the dependent care provision on July 1, 2011 for the AlaskaCare Employee health plan. This is consistent with PPACA which requires implementation by the first plan renewal year six months after September 23, 2010. Funds to implement this provision were acquired during the 2011 legislative session.

Top of page

Why didn’t the State implement the dependent care provision for the AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan before July 1, 2011?

It would have been imprudent to implement this provision earlier than required by law because the associated costs were not appropriated in the current Fiscal Year 11 budget.  FY 12 rate recommendations for the employee members of AlaskaCare are anticipated in November 2010 for inclusion in the Governor’s FY 12 budget proposal.

Top of page

When will I be able to enroll my dependent(s) older than age 23 on my plan?

Enrollment for dependent children will begin at the first plan renewal occurring six months after the effective date of the new law (September 23, 2010).  For the AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan this will be for the plan year beginning July 1, 2011. Employees will be given advance notice of this opportunity before the July 1 effective date.

Top of page

How do I include my grandchild on my plan?

The new provision does not extend coverage to a dependent child’s spouse or children. Under current plan provisions, grandchildren may be covered only if they are legally adopted by you or you are appointed legal guardianship by a court of law.

Top of page

Will the enrollment happen automatically?

No, you will be required to enroll your eligible child in the plan. Instructions for doing this will be provided prior to the July 1, 2011 effective date.

Top of page

Does the IRS definition of “dependent child” apply?

No. PPACA contains only one exclusion: an adult child who has not attained age 26 and who is “eligible to enroll in an eligible employer-sponsored health plan” other than the parents’ plan(s) is excluded from dependent coverage. This exclusion is discussed in the regulations referenced in paragraph 2.

Top of page

Does my child still need to be in school?

No.

Top of page

Does my child have to live with me?

No.

Top of page

Must my child be dependent upon me for support?

No.

Top of page

What if my child is married?

The plan will cover your child regardless of whether the child is married; however, your child’s spouse and children will not be covered.

Top of page

How can I get my child back on my plan?

AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan members will be able to enroll your dependent for the next benefit year beginning July 1, 2011. Instructions for enrolling children will be provided prior to the effective date.

Top of page

My child has a job, but the employer doesn’t offer health insurance. Can I put them on my plan?

Yes, you may add the child to your plan for the plan year beginning July 1, 2011 as long as the child does not have access to a group employee health plan and is not yet age 26.

Top of page

Back to Dependent Coverage page