Details on Health Care Law’s Under-26 Coverage Rules

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StudyingAs you may recall, the health care bill that was recently signed into law included provisions for the extension of dependent health insurance to those under 26. Specifically – “Young adults will be able to stay on their parents’ health plans until the age of 26. Many health plans currently drop dependents from coverage when they turn 19 or finish college.”

This week the government released the details of how this would work.

Health Plans that cover Dependents: If your health care plan currently covers dependents, the rules takes effect on or after Sept. 23, 2010. The rule would now require that the policyholder’s children be covered until the age of 26 unless they have access to an employer-sponsored plan. If they were previously dropped, they can re-enroll as long as they don’t have access to an employer-sponsored plan. The child does not need to live with the parent and does not need to be claimed as a dependent on the parent’s tax return. If the health insurance plan’s open enrollment period isn’t in the fall, the plan must give dependents 30 days to decide whether or not to enroll.

So far, 65 insurance companies have allowed students graduating from college to remain on their parent’s plans. (you read this list on the 4th and 5th page of the White House release.

Health Plans that don’t cover Dependents: If your health care plan doesn’t cover dependents, then it won’t be required to cover children until Jan. 1, 2014, when a child can re-enroll if they do not have access to an employer sponsored plan. The rules are the same, the implementation date is just further out.

How much will it cost? “The health department estimated that the average cost to cover each new enrollee would be $3,380 in 2011, $3,500 in 2012 and $3,690 in 2013.” (from NYT)

The White House also shared some sobering statistics – 30% of young adults are uninsured, making it the largest percentage of any age group. They don’t share the source of this statistics but I remember, when looking for a job, that health insurance was the biggest concern. Before the recent law, I wouldn’t have health insurance under my parents once I graduated. I didn’t know how much it cost on the private market and I was fortunate not to have any pre-existing conditions, but the prospect of being uninsured was a little daunting. It’s like being on a ship without having a life preserve under your seat, 99.99999% of the time you’re fine, but that slim chance of disaster is still scary.

(Photo: lenifuzhead)

{ 139 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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139 Responses to “Details on Health Care Law’s Under-26 Coverage Rules”

  1. Lena says:

    Currently I have a full time job that offeres me health insurance (which I have now) but it is very expensive. My dad works for the county and has excellent coverage (which for some reason Im still on and not in school). Im I able to cancel my jobs insurance and stay on my dads?

    • Michael says:

      Simple answer. No, if you have coverage options available you can not be covered by your parents insurance.

      • Anonymous says:

        My 21 year old son is a full time college student and also works part time( 8 hours per week). His employer offers benefits, but he is currently on my husband’s health care. Does he have to sign up for his employers benefits, which will most likely eat up his paycheck, or can my husband continue to keep our son on his health care ?

        • Melody says:

          I have that same question. It is rare that an employer offers insurance to a part-time employee, but my daughter’s does. Its not a very good policy for part-time. She is a full time student and can’t work full time yet for the better policy. Can she stay on my insurance?

  2. sorrell says:

    So my premiums for 2011 are going up. My kids will be 18 and 20 in 2011. If I drop them my premiums will go down.

    Will they then be the uninsured that are now supposed to be covered?

    Would it not be cheaper for me to do that?

    (at the cost of taxpayers of course)

  3. Linda T says:

    Young adults can buy (yes buy) an insurance policy from a health insurance company (like United Health Care) relatively inexpensively. After my daughter graduated from college, we got a policy that cost 92 a month….there were other policies that cost less. Of course, she did not have any pre-existing conditions. Most young people are healthier than older people, so insurance is less expensive. No reason to increase the cost of everyone’s insurance premiums to cover others. There is probably a way to cover those that can’t otherwise get/afford health insurance. Sickening is what this administration is.

    • brianna says:

      i can’t afford 92 dollars a month. the cheapest insurance i can find to buy… (yes buy…) is 78. i am 22 and my parents are both deceased, i am trying very hard to work my way through college and pay bills. a young adult like me cant buy..(yes buy) insurance like that.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Would my 21 year old son from a previous marriage who doesn’t live with me and my new wife be covered ( by the way we are covered by my wife’s health insurance policy)

  5. Debra says:


  6. Mike says:

    Are kids under 26 covered if they are married?

  7. BlackCloudShelly says:

    This helps my family immensely. My daughter, working her way through med college on scholarships (+) has no insurance since she turned “overage” on my policy and couldn’t be covered. My son, low income (not much to work in this area), has work and high health insurance, but not dental or life. Now I can cover both for health, dental and life.. and for me, it was only $25 more a month. My son has severe dental needs, but no way to pay – now we can get his teeth fixed!

  8. Beth says:

    My son, age 23, is now listed on my policy thanks to the Obama plan. What happens if he gets married? does the coverge immediatly stop or does he have time to get coverage elsehwere?

  9. Anonymous says:

    does the student have to be a full time student to be covered until age 26 or can the child be added if they are part time students?

  10. Lori says:

    We just added our son to our health care plan.{He currently has other insurance but thought this would save some $] However his father is going to retire and to keep him on under retirement would cost us an additional $500 a month. We have asked to have him removed but the insurance company refuses stating it is against the law due to the Child Equity Act. Is there anything we can do?

  11. B says:

    I have retired and have health insurance thru my old employer. Is my 22 y/o son eligible for coverage for health, dental and vision?

  12. sandra says:

    Why cant I find any information if the new healthplan for kids up to age 26 covers dental???

  13. carol says:

    I put my Daughter on my Health Insurance. She has a new job but won’t be offered right away. I told my insurance Company about this and they said it was alright to add her for now. But need to let them know when she is offered. How will the insurance companies find out if your child has insurance through work?

  14. dale says:

    my son is 24 yrs old and the my insurance company is kicking him off as of march 1, 2011. I thought with this new law he could stay on until 26?

  15. calene McKinnon says:

    I have insurance with my deceased husband group insurance plan. I have a 20 year old daughter that I getting married that is a dependent on my insurance plan. She has epilespy and is on 2 seizure meds that without insurance would cost around $1700 month. Can she still be covered on my insurance plan after she gets married?

  16. Shirley says:

    hi i have a cancer condition that it was found 3 weeks ago and im only 23 would i be able to get cover by my father health insurance even knowing i have a pre-existing condition???n i need treatment to treat this brain cancer and at this point charty care doesnt want to cover me for any more treatment what can i do??

  17. en martinez says:

    I spoke to my husband about putting our daughter (22 yrs old) on his insurance and he stated that his company stated he could not. We ( she and I) have both been on his policy previously. Is this legal? He may just be stating this to me, in order not to have to pay additional premiums?

  18. Chuck says:

    I would like to drop my 19 yr old son off my insurance he is out of college and has a fulltime job that offers him full insurance. My healthcare provider (CIGNA) is requiring me to show proof that he is insured and the effective date before they’ll take him off my plan. Shouldn’t I be able to drop him for any reason regardless if he has insurance or not?

  19. brianna says:

    what happens if i am 22 with no parents? who’s plan do i get to be on?

  20. Anonymous says:

    How can we get my step-son off my husbands insurance? Do we have to wait until open enrollment or what? He is out of school nearly 19, does not live with us and lives with a woman that has him signed up for welfare.

  21. retired says:

    Parents are both on medicare. Son is 25 and has no health insurance. Can’t be on parents policy. Can he get medicaid?

  22. melissa says:

    Im only 19 and have a full time job that offers insurance however i am still under my fathers (who has a court order to provide health insurance until im 21)i really want to stay under his. if i try to, is there anyway his insurance company will know that i have a job and that they offer benefits? PLEASE HELP. i only have a couple more days to apply

  23. RJ Glosser says:

    My daughter has turned 18 and her fatherr has stopped paying child support. She is a full time college student . I want to know if he can legally remover her from his health insurance? He lives in Iowa, and has no other family so doesnt have to have family coverage except to cover her.

  24. Martha says:

    Does anyone know if you are a full time student and have a part time job that offers insurance can my parents insurance drop me? I work part time to pay for my schooling and the insurance my job offers is nothing compared to my parents. Is there any help for me? Did the government over look this problem? I could just apply for government assisted insurance but I’m trying to do the right thing. Help!

  25. Alex says:

    I’m 18 years old and a full time student. I need to drop a class because it is too difficult for me to handle. But will I still be covered on my parents insurance if I’m not a full time student ? (dropping the class will put me at 9 hours instead of 12)

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