When do adult children have to leave parents plan

I’ll be 26 at the end of the summer.  My mother keeps harping on me about how I better get started looking for my own health insurance.  I told her that I have another year before I have to get off of her plan.  She says the day I turn 26, I’m done.  Who is right?

Staying Close

Dear Staying Close,

You are both wrong.  So it’s a tie.

You are wrong about having another year.  The health reform rules require the plan to cover adult children up TO age 26, not THROUGH age 26.   (A few states let adult children stay past age 26; see the list.)   Once you turn 26, you are done – but not as quickly as your mother thinks.

You will be covered for the month that you turn 26, but at the end of that month, you will no longer qualify as a dependent.  It’s not the exact day of your 26th birthday that you lose coverage.

If her plan offers COBRA continuation coverage, you could keep her plan going for another 18 months.  Someone (I hope you) would have to pay the monthly cost.  It may be cheaper to find your own plan.   Try healthcare.gov to see what’s available in your state.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.