Dependent Children and Health Insurance

When your 26th birthday rolls around after being a dependent on a parent’s health insurance policy, what is the best plan of action? Firstly, you’re in the right place for all things health insurance. East Coast Health Insurance has agents licensed in nearly every state, making your health insurance shopping and researching mission much more convenient. Our site gives you access to every piece of health insurance information you need, and if it is not thorough enough at explaining your options, you can call us directly at 888 803 5917.


Federal Regulations

For the past several years, since the Affordable Care Act began planting its seeds, one of the key changes in health care was giving children who are on their parents’ (or a parent’s) health plan until they are 26 to obtain their own coverage, giving a several-year extension. This applies to all private health insurance that provides coverage to dependents, including through your parent’s employer, or an individual health plan. A dependent child is allowed to stay on a parent’s plan even if they are married, not living with their parents, attending school, earning their own income, and eligible for coverage through their workplace.

The only exception is “grandfathered” group plans, which were not required to offer dependent coverage up to age 26 until 2014 if a young adult was able to obtain group coverage outside of their parent’s plan.


Dependent children and health insurance


Your Options

Taking responsibility for your own health is an essential part of being an adult, including getting your own health insurance plan. The most important thing to keep in mind is planning. Start to research and apply preferably before your plan ends. There are several ways to go about obtaining coverage, all of which depends on your income, employment status, and health status. People with different health or financial concerns will clearly need to take another route than a healthy or employed individual.

Most types of coverage have an application that requires you wait several months for approval. This is when temporary medical insurance plans can be of use. Also, since your insurance history is important to keep stable for future dealings with underwriters and applications, start looking several months from the time you will lose coverage. Avoiding gaps in coverage is a crucial piece of being a trusted policyholder.


Individual Health Insurance

Obtaining coverage from a private insurer is ideal for individuals who can afford to pay an annual deductible and a monthly premium that can range from under $100 to several hundred depending where you live. If your job does not offer health benefits, this is your best option. Prices vary based on company and state, and other personal variables including smoking and age.

As a 26-year-old, applying for individual coverage will be much more affordable than someone older, and you are in fact the favored candidate of health insurance companies due to low-risk factors, good health, and strong immune systems. Unless you use tobacco products, you will have no problem being charged fair rates as a young adult. Get a quote now to view the available plans in your area and compare cost.


Group Coverage

If you are employed, and the company you work for offers health insurance policies to its workers, try to enroll in a plan with them. Group coverage is often inexpensive and convenient, and administered by a major national carrier with a large network. Most of these plans are going to be HMOs, which give you a managed care option – limiting you to in-network providers for covered services. Additionally, employer-sponsored plans have waiting periods to watch out for while your application gets processed for approval. During the time you are pending approval for coverage, it is a good move to purchase a short-term plan in the interim.


Short-Term Health Insurance

While you are waiting for an application for employee health benefits, Medicaid, or individual coverage to be approved, temporary policies are an inexpensive solution. With monthly premiums that total usually less than a cup of coffee, this is a way to get your feet wet in managing your own health insurance plan. Short-term health insurance can be a helpful tool, offering coverage on a per month basis, with the ability to cancel any time and have instant coverage from a few days to 12 months. Most private health insurers offer temporary plans in every state where they offer regular plans.



Depending where you live, you may be eligible for Medicaid if you have a low income, are unemployed, or have a disability or serious health problem. Disabled child dependents in most states are actually allowed to stay on their parent’s coverage for an extended length of time if a mental or physical condition makes them unable to earn their own income. Also, if you have children and a certain level of income you may qualify for one of your state’s medical assistance programs. Medicaid is available in every state, each with its own income limits for different categories of qualifying applicants.


Health Insurance Exchanges

The health insurance marketplace is operated either by your state or the Department of Health and Human Services, selling plans from private insurers that have tailored health plans to meet certain guidelines. These plans include every category of essential health benefits, such as prevention, hospitalization, prescriptions and maternity care. Premiums are about the same as private individual plans, but members of exchange plans may use subsidies to help lower their monthly rates if eligible. For some policyholders, medical costs can also be reduced with tax credits from the government. Like the individual health plans mentioned above, rates are lower for younger people, which makes this plan work in your favor.