With the passage of the ACA, health plans and insurers that offer dependent child coverage are legally required to let children under the age of 26 stay on their parents’ health care plan, regardless of whether the adult children have gotten married, had a child of their own, or are no longer tax dependents.
After their 26th birthday, however, in most cases adult children are no longer eligible for their parents’ plans. If you have a child who is nearing 26, now is the time to help them take steps toward getting their own healthcare benefits.
If you live in Florida, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin, you may have a little more time. These states allow your adult child to apply for a health insurance rider, which would allow them to remain on your insurance a while longer. The rider requirements and extensions vary by state – see HERE for more information.
If you don’t live in one of those states, or your child is not eligible for a rider, and you have employer-sponsored health insurance, your child has until the end of the month that they turn 26 to sign up for a plan of their own. There are several options for your child:
Employer-sponsored coverage: if your child works full-time (or even part-time, in some instances), they are likely eligible for their company’s health insurance plan.
School coverage: many universities offer student health insurance coverage, so if your child is attending a university, they should check out this option.
Private health insurance: your child can check out any healthcare provider to see what private plans they offer, though these can be more expensive than employer- or state-sponsored plans.
State/federal health insurance: your child may seek coverage through their state health insurance marketplace or the federal marketplace. After turning 26, they will have a special enrollment period of 60 days to sign up for a plan through their state health insurance marketplace.
This transition can seem like a stressful venture, but it doesn’t have to be. Researching the best option ahead of time will make this process much easier for you and your adult child.