April 29, 2010

ISU takes a wait-and-see approach on health care reform

by Paula Van Brocklin

Recently passed federal health care legislation has the media and most of America buzzing. It seems Iowa State employees are talking, too. Questions from employees have prompted human resource services to issue a statement (PDF) about what impact the legislation will have on ISU's benefits.

Have questions?

"Some of the legislation impacts ISU, some of it doesn't," said Mike Otis, associate director of HRS. "The regulations associated with the legislation have not come out yet, so we don't know exactly how some pieces of the legislation are going to work."

What is certain, according to Otis, is that dependent children will be allowed on their parents' health plans until age 26, beginning Jan. 1, 2011, for merit employees and Feb. 1, 2011, for ISU Plan participants. Children up to age 24 currently are allowed on their parents' plans, per recent state legislation.

Otis said several other provisions in the new health care reform legislation, such as guaranteed coverage, or the definition of what are considered essential services, still are uncertain. But one thing is certain; it will take time for the new legislation to be completely enacted. HRS is expecting more specific details within the next three months.

"We're evaluating the legislation, we're in contact with our health care vendors, and we're trying to understand what the impact will be," Otis said. "It's going to take some time."