What Does Health Care Reform Mean for Young Adults?

If you’re a young adult under the age of 26, you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about health insurance. You might not even have it. You don’t have to explain why — we all know insurance isn’t very exciting. But it’s important. And getting coverage might be easier than you think. 

For young adults who are 19 to 25 years old

You can get coverage through your parents’ health care plan, as long as their plan covers dependents. You can stay on their plan until you’re 26, even if you’re:

  • Married
  • Not living with your parents
  • Attending school or not
  • Not financially dependent on your parents
  • Eligible for your employer’s health insurance plan

Here are a few more things you need to know:

  • Health insurance companies have to notify your parents in writing of a special enrollment period. During this time, your parents can enroll you in their plan so you’re covered.
  • This coverage doesn't extend to your spouse or children.
  • If your parents don't have health coverage and you can't get it through an employer, you can buy your own plan. You could qualify for financial assistance called a subsidy that helps pay for it, too.

If you're 26 years old, or will be soon

  • If you stay on your parents’ plan, you won’t have to worry about getting your own health coverage until you’re 26. Once you're 26, you'll have coverage until the end of your birth month. Some employers provide coverage until the end of the year. Have your parents check with their employer to see when your coverage ends.
  • After that, if you don't have employer-sponsored insurance, you can sign up for an individual plan.
  • Health insurance can be more affordable than you may think. We have individual plans available for all budgets. Don't forget to see if you qualify for financial assistance called a subsidy that lowers the cost of your plan.
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