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Insurance broker disputes claim that it won't cost families more to expand coverage to adult children

An insurance broker takes issue with Gov. Jim Doyle's claim that it won't cost families more to let those up to 27 stay on their parents' health plans.

Doyle says families pay a flat rate for coverage, no matter how many kids they have.

But James Mueller, the Wisconsin vice president of the Willis Group Holdings, says every state mandate to extend insurance coverage drives up rates for everybody.

He said the state's new requirement to cover for autism and mental health treatments will raise employer premiums by 3 percent starting in January.

And he says employers can't afford those increases right now, no matter how noble the cause.

The new state budget lets adult children up to age 27 stay on their parents health plans if they cannot get coverage on their own, or if it's cheaper to be on mom-and-dad's plan.

Doyle says it will help young people who don't have jobs, or can't get affordable coverage from their employers.

J.P. Wieske of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance says young adults are generally healthy and don't add a lot to insurance companies' costs.

But Mueller says young adults are still at high risk for things like car injuries and pregnancies.

The state insurance commissioner's office has not determined the effect of the new law on rates.