How long can parents pay for health insurance?

While children are going to school, parents are generally responsible for paying their health insurance premiums, since students typically aren’t old enough to work or earn enough money on their own yet. But the exact cutoff age varies from state to state, and there are other factors that can change your parental responsibility too. Here’s how long you can pay for health insurance as a parent, no matter where you live.

The age limit for adult children

Typically, adult children are no longer eligible to be on their parent's health insurance after they turn 26. There are a few exceptions, though. Your child may qualify if he or she: 

  1. Is disabled; 
  2. Is currently in school; 
  3. Was married before the age of 26 and does not have access to other affordable coverage; 
  4. Has been continuously covered by your employer's group plan since his or her 18th birthday (or the date that he or she graduated from high school); 
  5. Provides proof that he or she is not covered through an employer because of recent termination, layoff, reduction of hours, or similar circumstance.

Coverage for young adults with pre-existing conditions

Parents of young adults with pre-existing conditions may be able to keep their children on their insurance until they are 26 years old. States have different rules about how long you can stay on your parent's plan. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) says that if your parent has an employer-sponsored plan, you can stay on the plan until you turn 26 years old. The ACA also says that if your parent has a child who is under 19 years old and doesn't have an employer-sponsored plan, they will be allowed to buy into the parents' plan so that they don't have to pay full price without any subsidies.

Extension options for dependent coverage

Parents of dependents, such as children or spouses, are eligible to continue coverage through COBRA. This allows them to extend their coverage for up to 36 months after the loss of employment. Parents may also be able to enroll in state-funded programs if they meet eligibility requirements. If a parent is unable to afford COBRA or other programs, he or she may apply for Medicaid and qualify based on income.

When does COBRA come into play?

COBRA is a federal law that allows employees to continue their employer-based health coverage after leaving a job. This type of coverage is also known as continuation coverage or extended coverage. COBRA was passed in 1986 under the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and applies to group health plans, but not individual or family plans.

The length of time an employee can continue their employer-based healthcare after leaving their job varies depending on the circumstances and how far along they are in the COBRA period.

See Also: Who Can Sell Travel Insurance

Medicaid and other public health care options

Parents who have been uninsured or underinsured may qualify for public health care through Medicaid. Medicaid is a federal program that provides access to free or low-cost medical care for families and individuals with limited income and resources. To qualify, you must meet the eligibility criteria set by your state of residence.

One way to determine if you qualify is to take the following steps: 

  • Find out if you are eligible based on your state's Medicaid coverage; 
  • Call your state's Medicaid office to apply; 
  • If approved, be prepared to provide any necessary documents needed as well as proof of income. For example, copies of tax returns from the last three years will be needed before approval can be granted;

How long can parents pay for health insurance?

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