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Q: Do We Have to Add Our 22-Year-Old to Our Health Policy, or Can She Sign Up On Her Own?

Asked by P. W. on December 5, 2017

Q: “My daughter is 22 years and still living at home. Do we have to have her on our policy or can she sign up for her own healthcare plan? She is no longer a student and is only employed part time.”

Hal Levy December 5, 2017

You don’t have to add your children to your existing healthcare plan. However, in most circumstances, it should be easy to keep your children on your existing plan through their 26th birthday.

You Can Always Add Children During An Enrollment Period: Young people can join their parent’s Affordable Care Act-compatible plan until they turn 26 years old. Their parent can add them to new or existing coverage during the annual Open Enrollment Period, or during a Special Enrollment Period.

Those under the age of 26 are eligible to join their parent’s insurance in any circumstance. You can add your child to your plan whether or not they’re in school, or employed, or living at home, or parenting, or married.

Adding A Child To Your Plan: Putting a young person on your health plan is easy to do. Just contact your insurance provider, and have your child’s information at hand. Your premiums will probably increase, but it may be less expensive for your child than if they had bought healthcare on their own.

Other Options Are Available: An independent young person can also explore other healthcare options on their own. If your daughter was not listed as a dependent on your tax return, she could qualify on her own for Medicaid or high Obamacare premium subsidies. There’s also no rule against her getting insurance coverage through her own employer.

A younger child could qualify for state-run child health programs. Joining an existing health insurance plan is not always the best choice for your child.

If your child looks for a plan on their own (or leaves your insurance after turning 26), make sure that they sign up within 60 days of a qualifying life event or during the annual open enrollment period. Losing insurance coverage counts as a qualifying life event.

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