54.9815-2714 Eligibility of children until at least age 26.§ 54.9815-2714 Eligibility of children until at least age 26.
(a) In general - (1) A group health plan, or a health insurance issuer offering group health insurance coverage, that makes available dependent coverage of children must make such coverage available for children until attainment of 26 years of age.
(2) The rule of this paragraph (a) is illustrated by the following example:Example.(i) Facts. For the plan year beginning January 1, 2011, a group health plan provides health coverage for employees, employees' spouses, and employees' children until the child turns 26. On the birthday of a child of an employee, July 17, 2011, the child turns 26. The last day the plan covers the child is July 16, 2011.
(ii) Conclusion. In this Example, the plan satisfies the requirement of this paragraph (a) with respect to the child.
(b) Restrictions on plan definition of dependent - (1) In general. With respect to a child who has not attained age 26, a plan or issuer may not define dependent for purposes of eligibility for dependent coverage of children other than in terms of a relationship between a child and the participant. Thus, for example, a plan or issuer may not deny or restrict dependent coverage for a child who has not attained age 26 based on the presence or absence of the child's financial dependency (upon the participant or any other person); residency with the participant or with any other person; whether the child lives, works, or resides in an HMO's service area or other network service area; marital status; student status; employment; eligibility for other coverage; or any combination of those factors. (Other requirements of Federal or State law, including section 609 of ERISA or section 1908 of the Social Security Act, may require coverage of certain children.)
(2) Construction. A plan or issuer will not fail to satisfy the requirements of this section if the plan or issuer limits dependent child coverage to children under age 26 who are described in section 152(f)(1) . For an individual not described in section 152(f)(1), such as a grandchild or niece, a plan may impose additional conditions on eligibility for dependent child health coverage, such as a condition that the individual be a dependent for income tax purposes.
(c) Coverage of grandchildren not required. Nothing in this section requires a plan or issuer to make coverage available for the child of a child receiving dependent coverage.
(d) Uniformity irrespective of age. The terms of the plan or health insurance coverage providing dependent coverage of children cannot vary based on age (except for children who are age 26 or older).
(e) Examples. The rules of paragraph (d) of this section are illustrated by the following examples:Example 1.(i) Facts. A group health plan offers a choice of self-only or family health coverage. Dependent coverage is provided under family health coverage for children of participants who have not attained age 26. The plan imposes an additional premium surcharge for children who are older than age 18.
(ii) Conclusion. In this Example 1, the plan violates the requirement of paragraph (d) of this section because the plan varies the terms for dependent coverage of children based on age.Example 2.(i) Facts. A group health plan offers a choice among the following tiers of health coverage: Self-only, self-plus-one, self-plus-two, and self-plus-three-or-more. The cost of coverage increases based on the number of covered individuals. The plan provides dependent coverage of children who have not attained age 26.
(ii) Conclusion. In this Example 2, the plan does not violate the requirement of paragraph (d) of this section that the terms of dependent coverage for children not vary based on age. Although the cost of coverage increases for tiers with more covered individuals, the increase applies without regard to the age of any child.Example 3.(i) Facts. A group health plan offers two benefit packages - an HMO option and an indemnity option. Dependent coverage is provided for children of participants who have not attained age 26. The plan limits children who are older than age 18 to the HMO option.
(ii) Conclusion. In this Example 3, the plan violates the requirement of paragraph (d) of this section because the plan, by limiting children who are older than age 18 to the HMO option, varies the terms for dependent coverage of children based on age.Example 4.(i) Facts. A group health plan sponsored by a large employer normally charges a copayment for physician visits that do not constitute preventive services. The plan charges this copayment to individuals age 19 and over, including employees, spouses, and dependent children, but waives it for those under age 19.
(ii) Conclusion. In this Example 4, the plan does not violate the requirement of paragraph (d) of this section that the terms of dependent coverage for children not vary based on age. While the requirement of paragraph (d) of this section generally prohibits distinctions based upon age in dependent coverage of children, it does not prohibit distinctions based upon age that apply to all coverage under the plan, including coverage for employees and spouses as well as dependent children. In this Example 4, the copayments charged to dependent children are the same as those charged to employees and spouses. Accordingly, the arrangement described in this Example 4 (including waiver, for individuals under age 19, of the generally applicable copayment) does not violate the requirement of paragraph (d) of this section.
(f) Applicability date. The provisions of this section are applicable to group health plans and health insurance issuers for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2017. Until the applicability date for this regulation, plans and issuers are required to continue to comply with the interim final regulations promulgated by the Department of Labor at 29 CFR part 2590, contained in the 29 CFR, parts 1927 to end, edition revised as of July 1, 2015.[T.D. 9744, 80 FR 72245, Nov. 18, 2015]