If a health plan covers children, they can be added to or kept on a parent’s health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old. Children can join or remain on a parent’s plan even if they are:

  • Married
  • Not living with their parents
  • Attending school
  • Not financially dependent on their parents
  • Eligible to enroll in their employer’s plan

What happens when my child turns 26 years old?

Your child will no longer be eligible for their parents health insurance coverage on their 26th birthday.

When a child loses coverage on their 26th birthday, they qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). This lets them enroll in a health plan outside of open enrollment. They can enroll up to 60 days before their 26th birthday and 60 days after. They may also qualify for tax credits and other savings based on their income.

If they enroll before their birthday, coverage can start as soon the first day of the month they lose coverage. If they enroll during the 60 days after their birthday, coverage can start the first day of the month after picking a plan.

If they don’t enroll in health coverage within 60 days of their birthday, they may not be able to get coverage until the next Open Enrollment period. If they aren’t insured, they may have to pay the fee that some uninsured people pay. If they’re uncovered for less than 3 months of the calendar year, they don’t have to pay the fee.

These rules apply to both job-based plans and individual plans bought inside or outside the Marketplace.

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