How To Stay On Your Parent’s Health Insurance

Posted by Monday, August 25, 2014 0 11

I promised you we were going to talk about health insurance eventually and I can think of no better time to discuss the matter than a Monday, the most exciting of all days.

No, health insurance is not exciting, and neither are Mondays. But they are both necessary evils in life, so there we have a connection. And on top of that, health insurance is a wildly misunderstood topic. So I feel it deserves to be the first of our talking points this week.

And I promise that I have made this post as quick and painless as possible.

Now, I am not here to make any kind of personal statements about my health insurance, my thoughts on the state of the American health care system, and what I think your thoughts on health insurance should be.

But what I will do is admit that, as a recent grad, I am happy with the current provisions that allow me to stay on my parent’s health insurance for the time being.

Why? Because it might be a little while before I find a job that covers all my health care needs to the extent that I have always been covered under a parent’s plan.

And I’m willing to bet some of you might be in the same boat.

So today we are going to talk about what you need to know in order to stay on your parent’s health insurance for as long as possible.

Everything You Need To Know About Staying On Your Parent’s Health Insurance


1. Your Parent Can Enroll You In Their Plan By Including You On The List of People To Be Covered:

  • If you are not already on your parent’s plan, they can add you to it during any “Open Enrollment Periods” and when “Special Enrollment” opportunities arise.
  • If your parent applies for a new plan in the Marketplace, they can “usually sign up an under-26-year-old on the same application.”
  • If your parent has job-based coverage, their employer or insurance company can provide them with more details on how to keep you on or add you to their plan.

2. You Can Stay On Your Parent’s Health Insurance Until You Are:

3. You Can Be On Your Parent’s Health Plan Even If You Are:

4. If You Are Approaching Your 26th Birthday, Take Advantage Of The “Special Enrollment Period” Offered To You:

  • Starting 60 days before your 26th birthday and up until 60 days after your birthday, this “Special Enrollment Period” entitles you to enroll in a healthcare plan outside of an”Open Enrollment Period” (The next proposed open enrollment period is November 15, 2014–February 15, 2015).
  • You should begin your application for this process as soon as you can based on your specific timeframe.

5. If You Are Not Claimed As A Dependent On Your Parent’s Taxes, You Can Fill Out Your Own Application To Apply For A Tax Credit:

  • You can still select the same plan, but will be on a different policy.
  • This is necessary if anyone on your application wants to qualify for “premium tax credits” and “lower out-of-pocket costs.”

6. Your Parents Are Not Required To Cover You:

  • In some cases, covering you may not raise the cost of your parent’s plan at all. This is true for most plans that cover any number of dependents for a set price. But if your parent’s insurance offers the “dependent coverage” option at additional cost, their premium may rise when you are signed up.
  • If having you on their plan could be a financial burden to your parent, it is important you discuss with them whether you can contribute anything toward the cost of the plan, or at least cover all your own copays.
  • If your parent does not believe they can keep you on or add you to their plan, you then have the same options for obtaining coverage as everyone else who doesn’t have insurance.
  • But if you decline to get covered, you may “have to pay the individual shared responsibility penalty for not being insured.

Health insurance is confusing and scary for most young people, and that is why staying on a parent’s plan is usually a very safe and comforting option. I hope that the basics I have given you here will help you to know your options, understand what you need to do on your part to stay on your parent’s insurance, and how to best take advantage of the opportunity for as long as you can.

Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. You are a grown-up.


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