Health Insurance and Adult Children: What Do I Need to Know?

Under the Affordable Care Act, parents now have the option of keeping their adult children covered under their own medical insurance plan. Federal law allows children up to age 26 to join or remain on their parents plan.
March 31 is the deadline for signing up health insurance coverage for 2014 through the federal government’s Health Insurance Marketplace. Now is a good time to answer some common questions about this new option.

Who is covered?

Children can join or remain on their parents plan even if they are:
– Married
– Not living with their parents
– Attending school
– Not financially dependent on their parents
– Eligible to enroll in their own employer’s plan

These new rules apply to all health care plans that offer coverage to dependents – including plans offered by employer and any individual plans.

How do I get coverage for my child?

If you have insurance through an employer or an insurance company that covers dependents, you can sign your child up under your existing plan during your plan’s open enrollment period or during other special enrollment periods. Contact your insurance agent or employer for details.
If your family is purchasing a new plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace, you can sign up your children under 26 by simply including them on the list of people to be covered.

Will it cost me more to cover my young adult child under my plan?

That will depend on your plan. Some plans cover any number of dependents for a set price while others offer dependent coverage as an option for additional cost. Check with your insurance agent to determine how this could affect your premiums.

Do I have to cover my adult child?

No. Depending on your child’s income, he or she may qualify for lower costs on monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs on an employer-based plan or a private health insurance plan through the Marketplace. Your child’s tax filing status can make a difference when his or her eligibility for lower costs on the Marketplace. For details before applying, contact your insurance agent.

What if my child opts to not get coverage at all?

Anyone without minimum essential health insurance coverage may have to pay a fine. Your child also would have to pay all medical expenses that could occur.