Although Americans are legally recognized as adults upon turning 18, many still struggle to get a foothold in adulthood until they reach their early or mid-twenties. Although everyone has different circumstances in life, a tight job market and rising housing costs coupled with student loan debt and the need for continuing education can all impact your ability to move out of your parents’ home, start a career, or secure health insurance through an employer or privately.
Thankfully, most Americans can retain health insurance under their parents’ coverage until they reach the age of 26. This is a fairly recent benefit to young adults that was brought about by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. This provision of the ACA not only allows for adult children to continue coverage under a parental plan, but it also stipulates that the covered children do not need to live with the parents in order to retain coverage or be claimed as dependents on a covered parent’s tax return.
Does Coverage Expire on Your 26th Birthday?
If you are an adult and are covered under your parents’ health insurance plan, your coverage expires at the end of the year you turn 26. Even if your birthday is January 1st, your coverage does not expire until the end of that year. You can choose to end your coverage earlier by seeking out a plan on your own or through an employer, but if you remain on your parents’ plan, your coverage will extend until December 31st of the year you turn 26.
Do Life Events Affect Coverage?
You can stay on your parents’ insurance plan until you turn 26 even if you get married, have a child or refuse an employer-sponsored health insurance plan. Different states do have different rules that affect coverage, however, so you’re encouraged to consult your state’s health department to discuss the specific rules that govern your coverage.
One thing to note about employer-sponsored coverage is that you can have coverage through a plan offered by your employer while still taking part in a parent’s plan. This may provide additional coverage or reduce costs. To learn more about the specifics that pertain to your situation, you will want to talk with your employer’s insurance provider as well as the insurance provider used by your parents. Your employer’s human resources department may also be able to provide additional information.
Coverage Under 18
As stated above, Americans are not legally considered adults until they reach the age of 18. Up until that point, individuals are considered minor children. Parents are able to add minor children who are dependents to most health insurance plans that offer family coverage. Doing so may raise the cost of an insurance plan or change its deductible.
If you are staying on a parent’s plan during the transition from minor child to adult child, you shouldn’t have to do anything to remain active on the policy. Some insurance providers may have certain paperwork that needs to be filled out for statistics purposes showing that you are an adult child on a parent’s plan; however, this will not affect your coverage or eligibility for coverage. Eligibility has already been determined by the ACA.