Geisinger extends benefits for employees’ dependents


WILKES-BARRE – The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2010 (PPACA), signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, requires all employers who provide health coverage via their employer health plan extend coverage for dependents up to age 26, effective Jan. 1, 2011. While the law does not require implementation until Jan. 1, 2011, Geisinger Health System’s Employee Benefit Plan is extending coverage for dependents turning age 23, 24 or 25, who were/are actively covered under Geisinger’s Health and Dental Plan between May 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2010.

“We are not legally required to implement any changes until the new plan year and most employers are waiting until that time to change their coverage policies,” said Richard Merkle, Geisinger’s chief human resource officer. “This will not only ensure a smooth transition into the official effective date, but will also provide employees the peace of mind that their adult children will have coverage through their middle 20s.”

“Globally, young adults who have already aged off their parents’ policies and lack coverage through an employer must wait until the law’s provisions take effect,” said Merkle. “At Geisinger Health System, we understand the importance of health coverage, and are very fortunate to be able to put the wheels in motion early and not have these dependents wait for the new law to take effect in January.”

Prior to the law, dependents of Geisinger employees were no longer eligible for coverage when they reached age 23 for non-students or age 25 if they were full-time students.

Geisinger employs approximately 13,000 people; 11,628 are full-time equivalent employees.

Geisinger is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development and implementation of innovative care models including advanced medical home and ProvenCare (“warranty”) program. The system serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 42 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. For more information, visit