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Young people can stay in your parents'' insurance longer, and costs of birth control should be covered for those looking to keep children in However, under new laws that took effect in Wisconsin on Friday.
Also starting the new year, state employees and employees of the University Wisconsin can receive domestic partner health insurance and other benefits. The new mandate that insurance plans cover autism will take effect for most on Friday, when renewed the group policy. This change in the law began in November, but most policyholders will not start paying for it until now.
The new insurance mandates were approved by the Democratic majority in the Legislature and Gov. Jim Doyle this year. Advocates who pushed for requiring birth control coverage and argued that autism was due, although the new mandates that are expected to increase costs for all policyholders.
"It another year in the march towards increased health insurance premiums, "said JP Wieske, director of state affairs for the Council on Affordable Health Insurance, a group national defense whose membership includes insurance companies, providers of health care, actuaries and insurance brokers.
No one seems know to what extent changes in costs. Neither the State Office of the Insurance Commissioner or the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans, which represents 18 members of the plans health statewide, has estimated.
"Everything indicates that mandates have increased costs and the costs will be higher expectations for 2010, said Phil Dougherty, executive director of the Association of Health Plans in Wisconsin.
The association was not opposed to any changes but worked with the governor and state legislators to ensure that laws are not what was intended, said Dougherty.
There was no opposition from anti-abortion and Catholic groups requiring contraceptives be covered by health insurance policies. Opponents argued that birth control is not medically necessary and companies insurance should not be forced to pay for what is a personal decision.
The Wisconsin Catholic Conference is lobbying lawmakers to include an exception for religious organizations.
"The law does not give proper deference to our religious values and our religious freedoms," said John Huebscher, director executive conference. "It would force dioceses and other Catholic organizations that buy insurance to pay for something they object to."
Three of the five Catholic dioceses been buying private health insurance, which must include contraceptive coverage, he said. However, their policies are not renewal until the end of 2010, so that hope is the Legislature shall provide for the exemption before then.
The three dioceses of Milwaukee, Madison Green Bay and ensure some 6,000 clergy, staff and other employees, Huebscher said. The other two in La Crosse and Superior self-insured and not bound by the law, he said.
Planned Parenthood opposes any exemptions as it will limit women''s access to birth control, "Nicole said legal and policy analyst in the group, Safar.
"An exemption really defeats the purpose," he said.
The mandatory coverage of birth control will increase access dramatically, Safar said. She cited a 2001 report by the State Office of the Insurance Commissioner that showed one in five of the most popular insurance plans prescription drug coverage in Wisconsin does not cover contraceptives.
Wisconsin joins 24 other states already require birth control to be covered, from According to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two other states require insurance companies to offer contraceptive coverage as an option to employees, but may be rejected.
Federal law requires insurance coverage for contraceptives for federal employees.
Under another change of insurance between in force in Wisconsin, adults up to 27 years could remain in their parents'' insurance health plans unless they have access to cheaper plans through their employers.
The current law does not address how long a child can stay in the coverage of their parents, leaving the individual insurance companies decide.
Supporters of increasing age, including Doyle and the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans, said the law will help young people who either can not afford health insurance, when they start working or not offered.
This provided estimates of the state or the insurance industry as to how many people can be affected.
To qualify, young adults have to be single, are not eligible for insurance through their employer, or be able to obtain in the their parents plan for less money than through their work.
About 20 states require insurers to offer coverage to parents of children adults in accordance with the Council of Affordable Health Insurance.
The benefits of domestic partnership is being extended to domestic partners of state employees who live together, share expenses and meet other requirements. It is open to unmarried couples of the opposite sex and same-sex couples.
From Tuesday, 710 people and 57 dependents have enrolled in health insurance, according to the Department of Employee trust funds. Another 300 state workers have signed statements affidavits saying they are eligible for benefits, indicating that can be registered later.
Another 179 employees of the university added a partner to its health insurance as of Dec. 21.
The health insurance benefit is independent of the other rights that all same-sex couples became eligible in the state since August. Under that law, couples had to sign a register to receive certain rights because it offers married couples, including hospital visits and inheritance.