How long can you be under your parents health insurance

Under current law, you can stay on your parent’s health insurance policy until you turn 26.

in some states, it’s even longer.

When it comes time to get your own insurance, it’s important to know what your health insurance options are and how to choose the right plan.

It can be a confusing topic, and sometimes it’s hard to know what your best options are.

This article breaks down what you need to know about your health insurance options, how to choose a plan that’s right for you, and even if you need insurance.

when you lose health insurance through your parents

Currently, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that your parent’s insurance plan cover you until you turn 26.

You qualify for your parent’s coverage even if you are:

  • married
  • attend school
  • not live with your parents
  • not depend financially on your parents
  • eligible to enroll in your employer’s plan
  • If your parents have their insurance plan through an employer, you generally have coverage through the end of the month of your birthday.

    Check with your individual plan to be sure, as some states and plans have different rules.

    If your parents have a Marketplace insurance plan, you have until December 31 of the year you turn 26 to get their coverage.

    states with an extended age limit

    Some states have an extended age limit to stay on your parent’s policy if you meet specific criteria.

    To be eligible for extended dependent coverage, you typically cannot be eligible for any other form of comprehensive health coverage.

    For example, if you’re eligible for your own employer’s health insurance, you may not be able to extend your parent’s coverage. (This does not apply to people who have a disability.)

    The following are the states that offer exceptions; however, laws are always subject to change, so check the laws in your own state.

    health insurance options

    If you’re approaching the age of your parents’ insurance policy, you have a few options to choose from.

    employer sponsored insurance

    If you or your spouse are currently employed full-time, you may be able to obtain health insurance coverage through an employer.

    You must request special enrollment within 30 days of losing coverage.

    medical insurance market

    For individual coverage, you may qualify for special enrollment through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

    To purchase a Marketplace plan, you must special enroll within 60 days of your plan expiration date. You can find more information here.

    You may even qualify for subsidies that can make your coverage more affordable.


    If your parent’s employer sponsors 20 or more employees on their plan, you may be eligible to purchase a temporary extension of health coverage for up to 36 months under the Consolidated General Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

    Be sure to notify your parent’s employer in writing within 60 days before your 26th birthday if you want to elect cobra coverage.


    If you apply for insurance through your state’s health insurance marketplace, you will be asked to enter your income amount.

    Depending on how much you earn each year, you may qualify for your state’s Medicaid program.

    school-sponsored health insurance

    If you are currently attending college as a full-time student, you may be able to get health coverage through your school’s insurance policy.

    This is a great option for graduate students who are aging and outgrowing their parents’ plan age.

    choosing the right health insurance

    The health insurance plan you choose depends to some extent on your health status.

    If you’re in good health and don’t require monthly prescriptions or need a procedure, you’ll want a different plan than someone who does.

    types of plans

    These are the most common types of health insurance plans.

    exclusive provider organizations (epo): An epo plan requires you to seek health care services from doctors and hospitals within its defined network if you want your costs to be covered, with exceptions for care emergency.

    Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs): HMO plans typically contract with doctors within a specific area to provide services, including preventive measures. Except in an emergency, this plan type only covers the cost of services provided by in-network health care providers.

    Point of Service (POS): POS plans offer medical and hospital care at a reduced cost when you seek care from their in-network providers. if you need to see a specialist, you’ll need to get a referral from your primary care doctor.

    preferred provider organization (ppo): With a ppo, you pay less for health care services when you only use in-network providers. this plan does not require a referral to see a specialist.

    Marketplace: The health insurance marketplace offers a few different levels of coverage plans. plans are broken down by level:


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