Reg Jones Expert's View

It’s been nearly a month since the president signed the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," and readers have been clamoring for answers to questions about the affect of those provisions on them and theirs.

Well, it hasn’t been easy to get answers because many of the provisions don’t become effective until years later. Further, as is usually the case, these provisions state what is to happen, not how it is to happen, and, especially, not how the goals will mesh with other provisions of law.

A good example of this is the coverage of dependent children until age 26. As stated in the law, this provision will take effect on the first day of a health benefits plan year that falls six months after the law is enacted. Since the law was signed on March 23, 2010, that means January 1, 2011 for the Federal Employees Health Benefits program.

Reduced to its simplest form, the law only changed one thing. Instead of allowing you to cover your unmarried dependent child until he or she turns 22, you may continue to include them under your FEHB self and family option until they turn 26.

While the details haven’t yet been worked out for such things as how to add children who have already turned 22 (including those who are now covered under TCC (Temporary Continuation of Coverage), OPM has promised to have everything in place in time for the next open season, which begins on November 9 and runs through December 14.

For now, all you can do is stay tuned.