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Dependent health care coverage until age 26

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dependent care coverage

Young adults covered under a parent's plan can stay covered until they're 26 years old. They can join or remain on the plan even if they are:

  • Married and/or have children of their own (their children are not covered)
  • Not living with you
  • Full-time students
  • Not financially dependent on you

Note: Although the law applies to every state, some states, like New York and Ohio, allow coverage beyond 26 years old if certain criteria are met or if there are certain physical or mental handicaps. Don't know your state's dependent care coverage age limit policy? Find out by contacting your state's insurance commissioner's office.

Here's what's different

In the past, health care plans could remove young adults from their parents' policies because of their age, and/or if they were a full-time student.

How it impacts you

  • The health plan must provide a 30-day period - no later than the first day of the plan's next plan year or policy year - to allow a parent to enroll the adult child. The plan must let you know of this enrollment period in writing.
  • If a parent enrolls an adult child during this 30-day enrollment period, the plan must cover the adult child from the first day of that plan year or policy year.

Does my adult child have to purchase an individual policy?

No. Eligible adult children can be included in the parents' family policy until they're 26 years old. The plan determines at what point the policy ends. It can be the day the dependent turns 26, the end of the month in which they turn 26, or the end of the year in which they turn 26.The adult dependent can also get coverage through their employer if it's offered.

Are both married and unmarried young adults covered?


Must a married young adult's spouse and/or children be covered?

No. The law does not require the plan to cover a married dependent's spouse or children.

Will young adults have to pay more for coverage or accept a different benefit package?

No. Qualified young adults must be offered the same benefit packages available to children who did not lose coverage because of their age. They also cannot be required to pay more for coverage than those who did not lose coverage due to age.

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