Keeping an Adult Child on Your Health Insurance

May 14, 2012

By Staff Writer

Your days of soothing a childís cold with chicken soup may be over, but a provision under the Affordable Care Act could help you to continue caring for your adult childís health.

Under the Affordable Care Act, children up to age 26 may be able to stay on, or join, a parentís health plan that offers dependent coverage. This coverage is available even if the child is:

  • Married
  • Living away from your home
  • Not a student
  • Financially independent
  • Eligible for insurance through an employer*

Ensuring Coverage
If you want to keep your adult child on your health plan or add them to it, start with these steps:

  • Wait for open enrollment. Your insurance provider should notify you of a 30-day enrollment period that begins on or before the first day of your plan or policy year. During this time, your child will have an opportunity to enroll for coverage under your plan.
  • Sign up and pay for continued enrollment. This allows your adult child to remain on your plan until they no longer qualify.

Extra Incentives
Besides providing access to health insurance, there are benefits to keep an adult child on your health plan. Come tax time, you might be able to deduct the value of employer-provided health coverage from your income. Youíre also eligible for the same tax benefit when you purchase health coverage through a "cafeteria plan," a benefit plan that lets you choose the benefits that best suit your needs.

Find more information about young adult coverage at the Affordable Care Act website.

*Exceptions: "Grandfathered" plans - those in place before March 23, 2010 - are not required to offer coverage to adult children who have access to group coverage outside of their parentsí plans until 2014. Talk with your health insurance carrier to make sure. 

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