What you should know about securing health insurance once you turn 26.
Is your 26th birthday right around the corner? Until you turn 26, you are allowed to remain covered by your parents’ health insurance plan. To help you better understand the situation, read on.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you can stay on your parent’s health care plan until you turn 26, whether or not you live with them. Even if you graduate from college and move out of state, you can still access their plan (depending on how the plan works). If you get married or have your own child before the age of 26, you may still be eligible for the healthcare benefits that your parents receive.
Depending on the kind of health care coverage your parents have, you may lose coverage immediately on the day you turn 26. Some plans allow young adults to remain on their parents’ plans under the end of the month following their 26th birthday. Double-check the plan to confirm. It’s best to know now if your coverage ends on your 26th birthday, because if you’re uninsured for more than three months in a row, you may have to pay a fine. However, this could change soon if Obamacare is repealed.
In most cases, you can only enroll in health insurance during the open enrollment period, running from November to the end of January. This is not the case when you turn 26. Turning 26 triggers a special enrollment period that lasts for 120 days. Young adults who will age out of their parents’ health care plans can enroll in their own plans within the 60-day window before they turn 26, or the 60-day window after their birthday.
When you’re ready to purchase your own insurance, you can either speak to your employer about enrolling in their healthcare plan, or ask whether you qualify for COBRA coverage under your parent’s plan. A third option is to sign up for a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
If certain provisions under the ACA are on their way out, young adults under the age of 26 may lose the right to retain coverage under their parents’ plans.