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1. Your Parents’ Health Insurance Nest Won’t Hold You Forever

It may come as a surprise to many “adult children” ages 26 and under that they’ve had the good fortune of being covered under their parent’s health plan. Thanks to ObamaCare, whether you remain living in your parent’s home, left their nest and ventured on your own, or are married, your parents are allowed to keep you on their health insurance plan until you turn 26.

But like most good things, this too shall come to an end. Even if you’re not planning on leaving your parents home, you will need to leave your parent’s health plan. Once you turn 26, you have a short amount of time (roughly 60 days before and 60 days after your 26th birthday) to enroll in your own plan. This is considered a special enrollment period (SEP) and if you miss this window, you may have to wait until the next open enrollment period depending upon your circumstances. Even if you’re young and invincible, going without health care coverage is ill advised.

2. Learn to Fly Before You Need to Leave Your Parents’ Health Plan Nest

Before you get ousted from your parents health coverage, prepare to migrate to one of your own. Here are some things to look into as you venture out in search of your own health plan.

Qualifying for a Marketplace (subsidized) plan

  • If you’re still a tax dependent of your parents, your parent’s income will determine if you qualify for a Marketplace plan and, if so, what savings you qualify for.
  • If you’re not a tax dependent of your parents, your income will be the determining factor for whether you qualify for any Marketplace savings.

Even if you don’t qualify for Marketplace savings, you can still enroll in a Marketplace plan (at full price).

Qualifying for a Medicaid plan

  • Medicaid is a form of government-subsidized (free or low-cost health) insurance coverage offered to millions of Americans, including some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
  • Some states have expanded their Medicaid programs to cover all people below certain income levels.
  • If you think you might qualify for Medicaid, you can apply through the Health Insurance Marketplace or through your state Medicaid agency.

Qualifying for an employer-sponsored health plan

  • Turning 26 is a qualifying event (other qualifying events include getting married, divorced, or changing jobs) and affords you the opportunity to obtain health coverage through your or your spouse’s employer health plan. Your employer’s benefits team can provide you information on what plan options are available and instructions on how to enroll.

Qualifying for health insurance under COVID

  • During COVID, many Americans became challenged with newfound health disparities due to job loss, income disruption, unmet health needs, and so on. Both state and federal programs have emerged or modified their qualification standards for obtaining health coverage. Check both the federal and your state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) (i.e. for specifics.

3. Building Your Own Health Insurance Nest

Navigating your opportunities and options to obtain health coverage after turning 26 can be daunting. Fortunately, there are resources to help guide you to the best decision for your particular situation.

W3LL can help you find the right health insurance plan that matches your needs and budget. W3LL’s one-stop platform for shopping and enrolling in health coverage makes it easy to discover a plan that’s personally tailored just for you.

With W3LL as your guide, you can be flying high knowing you’re covered before your parents push you off their health insurance nest!