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Staying On Your Parent's Insurance Through The Affordable Care Act

by: Shelby Alexander

Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM CST

Read All "12 Days of Enroll-mas" posts here.

One of the most successful portions of the Affordable Care Act that has already been implemented is the provision allowing young people under 26 to stay on their parent's or legal guardian's insurance.

This opens a wide range of options for 20-somethings who would have otherwise been cut off from access to healthcare coverage by 19 (or 23 if you went to college).

As we've already covered-- Millenials face more job uncertainty, unemployment, and/or underemployment than our generation's predecessors. However, this expansion provides health care security for many no matter where they may be in life.

With many new options opening up for young people, there are some simple guidelines that you should look at to determine if you can stay on your parent's insurance, enroll in employer coverage, or get a Marketplace insurance plan.

Under 26? Here are some health care guidelines you can follow below the jump.

Their plan has to offer coverage to dependents. Only if your parent's employers' plan offers coverage to dependents can you be covered on their plan until you're 26. Therefore, this will require some (easy) research to do to see if your parent has a health care plan that offers coverage for dependents.

Even if you are not financially dependent on your parents, you can stay on their coverage. This can be ideal for young people who are starting out their careers, in and out of employment, or saving funds to cover other expenses (like student loan debt). You can stay on a parent's insurance regardless if you live with them or not. Coverage is an also an option regardless of marital status!

If you are covered as a dependent and have a child, your child won't be able to receive coverage. Plans or issuers are not required to provide coverage for children of children receiving the extended coverage.

Keep siblings in mind. While many plans provide coverage for dependents at a fixed premium, you may want your parent to check whether the number of dependents added to their plan affects their premium. For coverage that covers any number of dependents for a set price, there may be no additional cost. If the insurance offers dependent coverage as an option for additional cost, the premium may rise when you sign up.

Be aware that your coverage on your parent's plan will end on your 26th birthday. Then you can switch to employer coverage or get a Marketplace health insurance plan.

Even if you don't have a parent or guardian with coverage for dependents, don't worry! If you file taxes yourself, you might be eligible for lower costs on a Marketplace plan based on your income. If you decide you want to receive your own coverage, you will still have access to these lower costs through the Marketplace. However, if you are enrolled in a parent's job-based coverage, your parent will likely not be eligible for the same lower costs on a Marketplace plan.

Have employer coverage and dependent coverage? You can choose! If your employer provides a health care plan and you're eligible to stay on your parent's insurance, you can decide which plan to be on. Look at the details and see which one you prefer. Knowing how the number of dependents may affect your parent's premium is helpful in this case. For me, I have a sibling enrolled as a dependent on my parent's plan, but my parent's premium was at a fixed rate-- meaning whether or not I stayed on my parent's plan didn't change their premium.

Medicare does not apply. If you have a parent on Medicare, you will not be able to receive expanded coverage through their plan.

Have any more questions? Go here to get more information. Or, you can call 1-800-318-2596, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).

The deadline to enroll for coverage that starts January 1 is December 23. The deadline to enroll period is March 31, 2014. Go to healthcare.gov and set up an account, and start looking at your options. Having the ability to prepare for any medical situation that may arise without facing the consequences of high emergency room bills is a great thing to have. Make sure you know your options for affordable, preventative care and get signed up!

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Do not republish without express written permission.

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