Written by Alyssa Orcuilo & Jacqueline Slobin
Under the current law, you are able to stay on your parent's health insurance until you are 26 years old. There are certain options that can allow you to stay on your parent's plan such as coverage expansion.
How Long Can You Stay On Your Parent's Insurance?
According to the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), individuals can stay on their parent's health insurance plan until they're 26 even if they:
- Are married.
- Went away to school.
- Have or adopt a child.
- Decline an employer's health plan.
What About Coverage Expansion Through Age 29?
The federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) provides workers who work for employers with 20 or more employees and their families the right to continue to purchase group health insurance for limited periods of time when they would otherwise lose coverage due to certain events.
Qualifying events include voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in hours, the transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events.
Therefore, this law extends the availability of health insurance coverage to young adults through the age of 29. The expansion is intended to assist young adults who do not have access to employer-sponsored health insurance.
You may have heard this law be referred to as the Age 29 law because it permits young adults to continue or obtain health coverage under their parent‚s plan up until age 29. The law provides two distinct ways in which coverage may be extended: a young adult option and a make available option.
Health Insurance Terms To Know
Once you're 26 (and even before then!), you'll want to know your health care terms front and back. Here are a few to get you started:
Open Enrollment is a period of time at the end of each calendar year where you can sign up for health insurance, make changes to your current plan, or cancel your plan. This period typically runs from early-November to mid-December. Plans purchased during this period become effective on January 1st.
Special Enrollment Period
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If you experienced a specific life event, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you may enroll in a health insurance plan outside the open enrollment dates. Some of the events that may deem you eligible for the Special Enrollment Period are marriage, childbirth, a divorce that leads to a loss of coverage, moving to a new zip code, or loss of coverage. For a full list of eligible events, go to this link.
Medicaid or Child Health Insurance Program
If you make less than $20,000 a year (lower in certain states), you may qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is a free or low-cost State-sponsored insurance program. While provider selection can be limited it is the best option if you are qualified.
If you meet the criteria, you can enroll immediately.
What Health Insurance Options Do I Have Once I Turn 26?
Mira could be a great option for those who are aging out of their parent's health insurance. It's affordable and convenient- at just 25/ mo and no deductible, you will have access to doctor visits, prescriptions, and lab tests. Click here to learn more about Mira or enroll now.
Employer Health Insurance
Employer-sponsored coverage is how most Americans get covered and refers to a health insurance plan that you get from your employer. When covered by employer health insurance, your employer often shares the cost of premiums with you. These plans can cover your dependents and oftentimes may cover your spouses as well. According to the Affordable Care Act, businesses with over 50 employees must offer health insurance to full-time employees or possibly face a tax penalty. Some small businesses offer employer-sponsored coverage as well.
Group Insurance VS Individual Health Insurance
Group health insurance covers individuals who are part of the same group - either through a job or organization. On the other hand, individual health insurance is bought by an individual and can cover one person or a family.
Group health insurance is dependent on your current employment status at a job, while individual health insurance continues to cover you if you switch jobs.
What To Look For In A Health Insurance Plan
There are several questions to ask yourself when picking a health insurance plan:
- Do you know your terminology?
As we said earlier, it's very important to know your terminology so you can fully understand what the insurance plan is offering. Is there a high co-pay? Low deductible? Understanding these is key to finding the right plan for you.
- How much is your insurance going to cost monthly and annually?
The average insurance plan will have monthly and annual costs. Be sure to assess these costs with your budget and ensure that you can truly afford it.
- How much will you pay out of pocket when seeing a doctor?
Out of pocket costs is the amount of money you're paying upfront (deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance...). Therefore, it's necessary to understand how much you will need to pay each time you see the doctor.
- Does your insurance plan limit which doctors you can see?
Some insurance plans do not cover a broad range of doctors in their network. You should check if there is a limitation on this and also evaluate your needs before choosing a plan.
- How often do you typically go to the doctor?
This largely plays a role in your out of pocket costs- if you're going to the doctor often and have a lot of high costs, you may want to consider this if it doesn't align with your budget.