Straight talk on health reform

Q:  Is my retiree health plan required to follow the insurance changes under health reform, such as coverage of dependents up till age 26? I would like to cover my 23-year-old child under this plan.

M, from Atlanta

A:  It depends on what type of retiree plan you’re in. The Affordable Care Act requires employee health plans to cover dependents until they’re 26.  But that requirement does not apply to people who are in retiree-only health plans, says Paul Fronstin of the Washington, D.C.-based Employee Benefit Research Institute. If you’re in a benefits plan that covers both active employees and retirees, that plan generally would have to follow the new insurance reforms. But those new protections would not apply if you’re a member of a health plan that covers retirees only, and there is a separate plan for active employees.

If you have a question about how the health care reform law might affect you, your family, employer or business, please send your query to We’ll  get the experts to answer it.