How Long Can I Stay on My Parent’s Health Insurance?

If you’ve hit your mid-20s, you’re probably wondering how long you can stay on your parent’s health insurance plan. The short answer: Under the Affordable Care Act, you can stay until the age of 26. After that, you have to get your own plan.

Whether you’re looking to get insurance through your employer, university, or the insurance Marketplace, here’s what you need to know to be prepared.

Staying on a parent’s health insurance plan

Up until the age of 26, you can stay on a parent’s plan as a dependent even if you:

·       Start or leave school.

·       Live in or out of a parent’s home.

·       Are no longer claimed as a tax dependent.

·       Get married.

·       Have or adopt a child.

·       Turn down employer-based coverage.

Your timeline to choose a new health insurance plan

When you’ll be kicked off of your parent’s health insurance plan depends on whether your parents are covered through the health care Marketplace or an employer:

·       If your parents have a Marketplace plan: You have until the end of the year you turn 26 to sign up for your own health insurance plan. In order for your new individual coverage to start on January 1 of the following year, plan to enroll by the 15th of December. (Remember to tell your parents to take you off their Marketplace application, too.)

·       If your parents have a job-based plan: You’ll no longer be eligible for your parent’s health insurance plan at the end of the month when you turn 26.

Getting an age 29 health insurance rider

If you live in New York state, a health insurance rider can allow you to stay on your parent’s plan through the end of the month you turn 30. You’ll need to apply for this rider during Open Enrollment, after turning 26 and before turning 29. You may be eligible for an age 29 rider if you live in New York and are:

·       Not married.

·       Under 29.

·       Not eligible for comprehensive insurance through an employer.

Don’t live in New York? Your state might still offer an extension on health insurance for young adults. Check out your state’s laws here.

No matter where you live, aging out a parent’s plan qualifies you for a Special Enrollment period, which allows you to choose a plan outside of Open Enrollment. Your Special Enrollment period starts 60 days before you lose coverage and ends 60 days after you lose coverage. Your plan will begin on the first day of the month after you sign up. So if you want to be insured the whole time, be sure to pick a plan before or during your birthday month. However, you won’t qualify for a Special Enrollment period if you voluntarily drop your parent’s insurance plan or if you or your parent fails to pay your insurance premiums.

Your health insurance options as a 20-something

If you’re aging out of a parent’s plan soon and need to get your own health insurance, you have a few options:

·       Job-based coverage: If you’re a full-time employee, you may be eligible for health insurance through your job.

·       School-based coverage: If you’re a full-time student, you may be able to get affordable health insurance through your university.

·       Marketplace coverage: If you can’t get affordable health coverage through your school or your job, you can sign up through or your state’s Marketplace. You may even qualify for subsidies that make health insurance more affordable.

·       Medicaid or CHIP: When you sign up for health insurance, you’ll find out if you qualify for Medicaid, which is low- to no-cost health insurance for people who earn less than a certain amount of money. If you’re pregnant, you may qualify for CHIP, a similarly low-cost option.

What to look for as a 20-something in a Marketplace plan.

Opting for a Marketplace plan? Here are the best options by metal tier if you’re in your 20s:

·       Catastrophic plan: If you’re making great money, you may not qualify for financial assistance – but that still doesn’t mean you have to pay as much as older people who may have more health problems. A Catastrophic plan is available only to people under 30. This plan assumes that you probably won’t be spending a lot on health care, so it has a high deductible (the amount you need to pay out-of-pocket for things like medicine and doctor appointments), which translates into very low monthly costs (premiums). You can’t apply subsidies to Catastrophic plans.

·       Bronze plan: Similar to the Catastrophic plan, Bronze plans have high deductibles and low premiums. If you qualify for subsidies, you can apply them to get a Bronze plan for a low monthly rate.

·       Silver or Gold plan: If you have a chronic condition or planned procedure and know you’ll have medical expenses throughout the year, you might consider a Silver or Gold plan. These plans have higher premiums, which means they cost more every month, but they have lower deductibles, which means you’ll owe less for each doctor or hospital visit. If you qualify for a cost-sharing reduction, you may be able to get a Silver plan with a reduced deductible.

Getting health care financial assistance as a 20-something

If you’re still working your way up and won’t be listed as a tax dependent of your parents returns this upcoming year, you may qualify for financial assistance to help reduce your health plan costs. If you qualify, you’ll enroll through or your state’s Marketplace for the plan of your choice, and you’ll be able to claim your subsidies there. Depending on how much you make, you may be able to get a Silver or Gold plan for less than a full-price Catastrophic plan. If your parent does claim you as a tax dependent, however, you won’t qualify for these savings based on your income.

Cosmo Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency serving surrounding communities in New Jersey. Cosmo keeps its promise to assure an efficient and creative approach to the services we offer. Each of our clients experience a personalized and long-term relationship with us. Our New Jersey based team of health brokers guides our clients in helping them choose the most cost-effective options. By incorporating the latest in technology-based tools and laws on healthcare, employee benefits, life insurance and finance, we keep our clients up-to-date with the plans that encompass all of their needs, whether it is individual or group insurance.