5:13 PM Eastern - Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State of the Union: "No longer worried about our son's health insurance coverage"


Mark Freeman lives in Minneapolis, MN and currently works as a warehouse receiver and distributor at Methodist Hospital, as well as a part-time manager of a liquor store. He is a member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

My son Andy turned 21 only just last week. Had the Affordable Healthcare Act not passed, my wife and I would be struggling right now to help him find health insurance. As it stands, we're happy to now have him covered under my wife's health insurance plan.

Andy is enrolled in community college full-time and working to get a two-year degree. He's also autistic. Right now his education is being covered by a program within the Minneapolis public school system, but he'll graduate out of that program in the spring.

My wife and I are hoping to be able to afford to keep Andy in school so that he can complete his degree. He's doing really well with a 4.0 average and we're very proud of him. Because of the economy, Andy hasn't been able to find a job yet. And we know he'll continue to have a hard time finding a job that can support him without further education.

Previously, my wife's health insurance provider would only cover our son up to age 21 and then only if he was enrolled in college full-time. For roughly two years now, our health insurance provider has been fighting us on our son's coverage, demanding a lot of paperwork to prove that he's enrolled full-time, which he is--but at a different level of credit hours than the insurance provider expected.

At one point, these paperwork problems resulted in Andy being dropped from coverage, costing us $800 to get him reinstated.

I truly believe the reason our health insurance provider finally stopped throwing up roadblocks because the Affordable Healthcare Act passed, knowing this law extends coverage to young adults to remain on their parent's plan until they turn 26, unless they are offered insurance from a job.

I would love for my son to have health insurance coverage from a job. I would love him to be able to find a good job. But the reality is that it is a struggle for him and so many others to find work - let alone work with health insurance benefits.

The thing about being a parent is that caring - and worrying - for your children doesn't end at age 18. But this little bit, knowing that my son has health insurance, helps us. Health insurance is part of being self-sufficient. Without it, people are at risk all the time to losing both their health and their savings. It's a great relief for my wife and I not have to worry about our son's health insurance coverage.

Tuesday at 9PM EST: State of the Union.
Tune in tonight at 9:00 pm (EST) to watch President Obama addresses the Nation. Watch live stream of the address at http://wh.gov.

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