Health Advocate Blog

Kicked Off your Parent’s Health Plan? Check Out These Options

Are you a young adult who is covered under your parent’s health insurance plan? If you’re among the millions who are, you’ll need to find new coverage when you turn 26, according to a recent story in MSN Money in which Health Advocate was used as an expert source. To view the full story, click here.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allows a dependent to stay on a parent’s health plan up to age 26. Whether the coverage ends on your birthday, or at the end of the policy year, depends on the plan. If you are now 26 or approaching your 26th birthday, you will need to look into other health insurance options. It’s important to plan ahead instead of waiting until the last minute.

Health Advocate provides the following tips:

  • Enroll in your employer’s plan. If you have a job that offers health insurance, talk to your benefits administrator and learn how to enroll. Typically, you would have to wait until the open enrollment period to sign up for health insurance, but under federal law you can sign up outside of the open enrollment period if you’ve lost coverage on a parent’s plan.
  • Spouse coverage. If you have a spouse or domestic partner who has employer-based health insurance, see if you qualify for coverage on his or her plan.
  • Think about COBRA. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a type of insurance for people who lose employer-sponsored health insurance because of unemployment, divorce, death of a spouse, or loss of eligibility for coverage as a dependent. Under COBRA, you can continue to receive health insurance benefits under your parent’s plan for up to 36 months.
  • Shop around. Look for an individual policy. You might find affordable coverage if you work with an independent insurance broker or agent. Figure out the type of healthcare you will need. If you are relatively healthy, you might not need a plan with all the bells and whistles. Keep in mind that the higher the deductible means a lower premium, but more out-of-pocket costs.
  • Check out Medicaid.  If you are a low-income individual or family, look into federal and state programs.

To learn more about how to find affordable healthcare coverage, check out The Healthcare Survival Guide: Cost-Saving Options for the Suddenly Unemployed and Anyone Else Who Wants to Save Money. The book, written by Health Advocate cofounders Martin Rosen and Abbie Leibowitz, M.D., contains dozens of resources to help find affordable healthcare coverage and health services for anyone who has lost their employer-paid healthcare — or who simply wants to reduce healthcare costs. You can download the book for free at