19-year-old with full-time job can stay on Mom’s plan

Can a 19-year-old who works full time stay on the parent’s plan?  I’ve heard that if the child has a job, he can’t stay on your plan.  I’ve kept my son on and so far, no questions asked.  But I’m afraid he will get kicked off retroactively, and then what would we do?

Keeping Quiet

Dear Keeping Quiet,

Your plan, if it qualifies as “grandfathered”, can refuse to cover children who have a group plan offered to them from their own employer.  It’s not just that the child has a job; the job has to also offer him a group health plan.  Your plan may have qualified as “grandfathered” in the past, but it probably no longer does: very few plans are still grandfathered in 2013.  Ask your boss or the human resource person.  If your plan does refuse to cover him and they go so far as to back date the change, you could always buy COBRA coverage for that period if you wanted to.

Assuming your plan is not grandfathered, your 19-year-old can be covered. Then the relevant question is whether it is cheaper to carry him on your plan or on his employer’s plan. His employer may pay for most or all of the cost for the single employee. If there are other younger children on your plan, then dropping the 19-year-old won’t save any you money. Most plans charge for children, and not per child.

You may want to drop him from your plan and have him join his own employer’s plan, just to make him more independent from you.  That’s a parenting issue, not a health insurance issue.

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.