Young Adult Coverage
Under the Affordable Care Act, if your plan covers children, you can now add or keep your children on your health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old.
What This Means for You
Before the health care law, insurance companies could remove enrolled children usually at age 19, sometimes older for full-time students. Now, most health plans that cover children must make coverage available to children up to age 26. By allowing children to stay on a parent's plan, the law makes it easier and more affordable for young adults to get health insurance coverage.
Your children can join or remain on your plan even if they are:
- not living with you
- attending school
- not financially dependent on you
- eligible to enroll in their employer’s plan
There is one temporary exception: Until 2014, “grandfathered” group plans do not have to offer dependent coverage up to age 26 if a young adult is eligible for group coverage outside their parent’s plan.
Some Important Details
- Your plan is required to provide a 30-day period — no later than the first day of your plan’s next “plan year” or “policy year” that begins on or after September 23, 2010 — to allow you to enroll your adult child. Your plan must notify you of this enrollment opportunity in writing.
- If you enroll your adult child during this 30-day enrollment period, your plan must cover your adult child from the first day of that plan year or policy year.
For More Information
- Abby's Story: Health Coverage for Young Adults Under 26.
- Fact Sheet: Young Adults and the Affordable Care Act.
- Report: Number of Young Adults Gaining Insurance Due to the Affordable Care Act Now Tops 3 Million.
- HealthCare Blog: 2.5 Million More Young Adults Have Coverage Thanks to Health Law.
- Read answers to frequently asked questions about young adults and the Affordable Care Act.
- Find detailed technical and regulatory information and learn more about the background of this provision.
- Patient’s Bill of Rights: Learn about other consumer protections in the health care law.
Posted on: September 23, 2010
Last updated: July 6, 2012