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Health reform law doesn't cover some vets' children

Posted September 23, 2011

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— More than 1 million people between the ages of 19 and 25 now have insurance coverage compared to one year ago because of national health care reform, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One of the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was to allow people to remain covered by their parents' until age 26. Previously, children weren't covered after they turned 23.

The law primarily addresses people covered by private health insurance, however, and didn't change anything for families under military insurance plans. Officials in President Barack Obama's administration said misinformation was tossed around during last year's debate on the legislation about how the new law would impact military families, so military insurance plans were removed to get the measure passed.

David Suter said he was shocked to learn recently that his two college-age children would soon lose their coverage under the CHAMPVA policy he has as a disabled Air Force veteran.

His daughter, Heather, a student at East Carolina University, turns 23 in December. His son Josh, a student at North Carolina State University, will turn 23 by mid-2013.

"How am I going to come up with money to buy an insurance policy for her?" Suter asked.

He said he supported the health reform plan last year thinking it would give his children more time to get on their feet after college and find their own insurance.

"Like (Obama) said, there's a lot of American families that are hurting," Suter said.

Administration officials are trying to rectify the situation.

David Suter, disabled Air Force veteran Disabled vet plans to fight for children's insurance

Coverage for young adults was extended to age 26 for military families in the TRICARE insurance program as part of the defense authorization bill this year. A bill to extend coverage for CHAMPVA families is pending in the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Fourth District Congressman David Price said he plans to sign on as a co-sponsor of the bill.

"There is no reason we should deny these benefits to families using CHAMPVA," Price said in a statement. "The job of health reform can’t be considered finished when military families are not realizing all the benefits.”

Suter said he's used to fighting, and he doesn't plan to let his children's insurance lapse without another battle.

"It took me over 5½ years to get my disability," he said. "Being a disabled vet, I'm used to being last."

7 Comments

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  • Caroline Marie Sep 28, 1:16 p.m.

    Most 23 year old students are out of college unless they started late or are continuing on to get a Master's degree. Personally, I think the law should include the military insurance. And, the extension to age 26 on the insurance is about the only thing that Obama has done that has benefited me or my family.

  • gpdaniti Sep 26, 4:16 p.m.

    Just a Name - Military has cutbacks and is not taking in as they used to. They are getting rid of good soldiers due to the budget decrease for military. The yearly cost of living for our military is the lowest in 40 years. We will go back to having our military get food stamps and cheese blocks for their families. This sounds like what you want.

  • gpdaniti Sep 26, 4:13 p.m.

    I have written the White House twice, called the VA numerous times to no avail. The White House never answered me. My daughter was dropped from Champ VA at the stroke of midnight when she turned 23. No one cares. This is a disgrace when the rest of the country has coverage for their kids until the age of 26. My daughter is in College so could not afford a policy and in turn cannot afford to see a doc if she does not feel well. My husband is a disabled Vet dealing with major issues and this is his payback. Obama does not give a sh*t. If she had a child and was unmarried she would get medical, monthly stipend and free college tuition. What is wrong with this Country????? Now she has medical bills and student loans.

  • JustAName Sep 23, 7:40 p.m.

    As students, they can get health insurance at ECU and NC State. When they get out, if they can't get a job, then join the military. 24 year old healthy college educated adults should be responsible for supporting themselves.

  • avidreader Sep 23, 7:38 p.m.

    Who considers a 26 year old a child? Oh yea, we are all children in the sight of Washington = we all need looking after and protecting.

  • whatusay Sep 23, 7:34 p.m.

    So, Obama threw military families under the bus, to get his bill passed. That's what this article says...

  • Nancy Sep 23, 7:27 p.m.

    Of course it was rushed through, and the claims made did not address the public sector health issues, only controlling private sector health coverage.

    Anyone surprised? I'm not.