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How long can you be covered under parents’ health insurance?

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Keep in mind...
  • Under the Affordable Care Act, you can stay on your parent’s plan until you turn 26 in most cases
  • If you are on your parent’s employer-based plan, it will typically end as soon as you turn 26
  • If you are on your parent’s marketplace plan, you will remain covered until December of the year you turn 26
  • If you are turning 26 and losing your parent’s job-based insurance, you should qualify for a special enrollment period to enroll in your own Marketplace plan
  • If you do not get your own insurance plan when you turn 26, you may be responsible for paying the individual mandate penalty fine

How long can you stay on your parent’s health insurance?

In most cases, you can stay on your parent’s health insurance until you turn 26. The exact date that your coverage will end depends on the type of insurance you have. You can be on your parent’s health insurance plan until the age of 26 even if you are married, work a full-time job, or you are no longer a tax dependent.

If your parents cover you with their employer-based insurance, your coverage will typically end as soon as you turn 26. Have your parents check with their human resources representative to find out the exact details. If you are covered under your parent’s Marketplace plan, you are eligible to stay on the plan until December of the year that you turn 26.

How do I get my own health insurance when I am no longer eligible for coverage through my parents?

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Once you turn 26 and lose coverage through your parents, you will need to get your own health insurance or you may have to pay the individual mandate penalty fine. If you are a full-time employee and work for a company that offers health insurance, you should enroll in that plan because your employer will contribute towards your monthly premium. If you turn down your employer-based plan, you will not be eligible for tax credits and other cost-saving assistance on the healthcare exchange Marketplace.

You can choose to enroll in a Marketplace plan when you lose your parent’s insurance as well. If you are not a tax dependent when you lose insurance, you can enroll in a Marketplace plan during open enrollment and qualify for tax credits and cost assistance.

You can also qualify for Medicaid. If you are a tax dependent when you lose your insurance, you can enroll in a Marketplace plan during open enrollment but you will not be eligible for savings on your Marketplace plan.

If you enroll in a Marketplace plan before you lose your coverage, your new plan can start the first day of the month right after you lose your coverage. If you wait until after you have already lost it, your new plan will start the first day of the following month after you enroll.

What if I don’t have a typical full-time job when I lose my health coverage through my parents?

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If you are not a full-time employee or are not offered an insurance plan through your job, you still have options. You can purchase a Marketplace plan even if you have a variable income. You should just predict your annual income and you will receive savings based on that prediction. If your income is significantly higher or lower than you expected, you can change your application at any time so that it reflects this amount.

If you recently decided to start your own business and are making a lower income, you may qualify for Medicaid. As your business and income increase, you can change this on your application.

If you no longer qualify for Medicaid, you can enroll in a Marketplace plan. If you are starting a new business with employees, you can shop for insurance for you and your employees using the Small Business Health Options Program. You may qualify for a tax credit that can be worth up to 50 percent of your monthly premium.

What are my health insurance options if I am a student?

If you are a student, check if your university offers a student health insurance program. It is often a very affordable option. When you move to a different state to go to school, you should be eligible for a special enrollment period if you wish to purchase a new plan through the Healthcare Exchange Marketplace.

How long can you be covered under parents’ health insurance?

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Under the Affordable Care Act, you can be covered under your parent’s health insurance plan until you are 26 years old.

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