Health Insurance

What To Do if You Can’t Stay On Your Parents’ Health Insurance

Usually, you can remain on your parent’s health insurance plan until you turn 26, with some states being even older. If you need to obtain your own plan, there are some options for you to explore.

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When you become an adult, you may wonder how long you can stay on your parent’s insurance as you evaluate your finances. There are some situations where you can stay on your parent’s health insurance; if not, there are several options.

How Long Can You Stay on Your Parent’s Health Insurance? 

In most cases, in the majority of states, you can remain on your parent’s health insurance until you are 26. There are some states where it can be longer, and several other factors will influence your ability to remain on your parent’s policy. 

Typically you can stay on your parent’s health insurance policy until the end of the month you turn 26, as long as their plan has dependent coverage available. Even if you are married, still in college, don’t live with your parents, are not financially dependent on them, or have the availability to enroll with your employer, you can still be eligible to remain on their plan.

Of course, each state and insurance carrier can have different rules and regulations, so be sure to check with both if you are nearing the age of 26. 

When Will You Lose Health Insurance Through Your Parents?

Usually, you can stay on your parent’s health insurance until age 26, but there are some exceptions if you meet some criteria. Some states will allow you to stay on longer, and some allow for an extension due to an immediate medical need.  

You Can Stay on a Parent’s Plan Until You Turn 26

Before the Affordable Care Act, most adult children had to be removed from their parent’s health insurance policy at age 19, and sometimes 23 if they were full-time college students. That meant that soon after you were an adult, you had to pay for your own health insurance or become uninsured.  

The age was extended to 26 by the ACA to reduce the number of uninsured adults and remove some of the financial burdens that can come with having to pay for this critical insurance. Additionally, it is common for children to take a gap year before starting college, so increasing the age where carriers had to offer longer dependent coverage helped to cover these situations as well. 

States With Age Limit Extensions

A few states have extended the age limit past 26 to be still eligible for coverage on your parent’s policy as long as you meet specific criteria:

StateAge Extension For Children On Parent’s Health Insurance
FloridaChildren can remain on their parent’s policy up to age 29, under some documented circumstances; Age extension rider also available
GeorgiaChildren can remain on their parent’s policy indefinitely, provided they have a disability and no means of self-support
IllinoisChildren can remain on their parent’s policy indefinitely, provided they have a disability and no means of self-support
IndianaChildren can remain on their parent’s policy indefinitely, provided they have a disability and no means of self-support
MassachusettsChildren can remain on their parent’s policy indefinitely, provided they have a disability and no means of self-support
MinnesotaChildren can remain on their parent’s policy indefinitely, provided they have a disability
MissouriChildren can remain on their parent’s policy indefinitely, provided they have a disability and no means of self-support
NebraskaAge extension rider available
NevadaChildren can remain on their parent’s policy indefinitely, provided they have a disability and no means of self-support
New JerseyChildren can remain on their parent’s policy up to age 30, under some documented circumstances; Age extension rider also available
New YorkChildren can remain on their parent’s policy indefinitely, provided they have a disability and no means of self-support; Age extension rider also available
OhioChildren can remain on their parent’s policy indefinitely, provided they have a disability and no means of self-support
OregonChildren can remain on their parent’s policy indefinitely, provided they have a disability
PennsylvaniaChildren can remain on their parent’s policy up to age 29, under some documented circumstances; Age extension rider also available
Rhode IslandChildren can remain on their parent’s policy indefinitely, provided they have a disability
South CarolinaChildren can remain on their parent’s policy indefinitely, provided they have a disability and no means of self-support
South DakotaChildren can remain on their parent’s policy indefinitely, provided they have a disability and no means of self-support
WisconsinChildren can remain on their parent’s policy indefinitely, provided they are students, called to active duty, and/or have a disability and no means of self-support; Age extension rider also available

Getting an Age 29 Health Insurance Rider

Some states, like New York, offer an age 29 health insurance rider. The rider will allow you to remain on your parent’s health insurance policy until the end of the year you turn 30 as long as you meet specific criteria. Common criteria includes applying during the annual open enrollment period after turning 26, but before 29. Most states also require children covered with the rider to be unmarried, younger than 29 (or another state-specified age), and not eligible for insurance through an employer.

States with age extension riders available include:

  • Florida
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin

How To Get Added to a Parent’s Insurance Plan

If you are eligible for joining your parent’s health insurance plan due to age or meeting state-specific criteria, ask your parents to call their current health insurance provider with your information to add you to the policy. They will likely need to provide your name, date of birth, and some basic health history information. The insurer can also inform you and your parents of state rules and regulations so you can remain compliant. 

Do Young People Really Need Health Insurance?

You may be under the impression that you do not need health insurance if you are young and healthy. This misconception may be due to a mistaken belief that instances such as accidents and terminal illnesses do not occur in young people.

However, if you are uninsured and an accident does occur, you will be on the hook for all incurred changes. In fact, an average stay in the hospital can cost upwards of $10,000. Health insurance also provides coverage for prescription drugs. Even a simple one-off antibiotic can be pricey without coverage, and health insurance can help cover recurring prescriptions to make those more affordable too.

Health Insurance Options for Young People

When you turn 26 and need to obtain your own health insurance, you have options. Understanding how to get a policy and which type of plan will fit your needs is essential when it’s time to get coverage. Depending on the plan, some premiums may be more affordable, while others may be more expensive. Even if you’re young and healthy, it’s crucial to maintain health insurance coverage.

Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

Many employers offer some group health insurance to their full-time employees. Usually, your employer pays a portion of your premium under a group plan. Obtaining health insurance through your employer will likely be the easiest way to get insured without shopping around and comparing. 

However, there may be restrictions on the doctors and hospitals from which you can seek care, and you may not be able to keep the same coverage if you decide to change jobs. It’s always crucial to compare the pros and cons of each option.

The Health Insurance Marketplace

The Health Insurance Marketplace has health insurance policies for people who don’t have health insurance through their employers. There are sometimes subsidies provided to Marketplace participants to lower their premiums if they cannot afford to pay the total price. You may be eligible depending on your financial situation.  Those enrolling in a Marketplace plan can sign up for new or renew coverage during the annual Open Enrollment Period, which typically runs from November 1 until January 15, though it may vary based on your state.

COBRA 

Employees with employer-based health insurance may continue to receive benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). To qualify for COBRA coverage, the policyholder must lose their job or reduce their working hours. A dependent can be eligible for COBRA if they divorce the policyholder or the policyholder dies. 

COBRA coverage also extends up to the 26th birthday of dependent children under the ACA. Even though COBRA can provide temporary coverage if you become uninsured, you are typically required to pay the entire premium, which can be costly. This would not be the most financially beneficial option for a young person.

Medicaid 

If you are in a financial position where you cannot afford health insurance coverage, you could look into Medicaid. State and federal governments together have developed the Medicaid program for particular situations. 

Medicaid provides health coverage to low-income adults, the elderly, people with disabilities, pregnant females, and children. States administer Medicaid following federal guidelines. Your modified adjusted gross income determines your Medicaid eligibility. Citizenship or a qualifying non-citizen status, such as permanent residency, is required. Medicaid usually requires you to live in the state where you apply.

School-Sponsored Health Insurance 

If you are a student at a college or university, you can check to see if they may offer health insurance as well. Many colleges and universities offer these plans, similar to those sponsored by employers.

For example, Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania offers student health insurance billed directly to the student. United Healthcare underwrites its plan, and there are a few options that also include Vision and Dental. Because many schools require their students to have and maintain health insurance, they have started offering their own options to make it easier. 

Be sure to check with your school to see if they offer health insurance to their students.