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The Number 26

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) made many changes to how health insurance plans cover children and dependents. The law has helped children and young adults access health insurance throughout their formative years.

Under the law, children can remain on their parents' insurance plans until they turn 26 years old. Parents are also able to claim children as health insurance dependents for tax purposes. However, after the age of 26, a child will no longer qualify to stay on his or her parents' health insurance plan.

What To Do As You Approach 26

If you're approaching your 26th birthday, consider the ways you can transition off an old plan and still find new, affordable coverage.

Here are some things to think about as you research the ways you can obtain health insurance coverage:

  • You might be able to enroll in your employer's health insurance plan, if your job offers benefits. Some employers allow their employees to enroll in their benefits plans outside of their standard enrollment periods. Your turning 26 might qualify you for this special allowance.
  • The Affordable Care Act marketplace — a federal and state-run exchange — provides an outlet for Americans to search for health insurance plans. Enrolling in a marketplace plan might qualify young people for cost assistance. These private plans are designed to meet strict coverage and pricing requirements.
  • Private insurance companies offer a variety of coverage options for individuals, separate from marketplace plans. You may not qualify for cost assistance, but you can still find an affordable policy.

The ACA requires most Americans to carry health insurance. You might face tax penalties if you don't. Therefore, you likely cannot go without coverage. Consider the benefits of enrolling in your own plan.

  • Will you be able to afford the cost requirements of your parents' plan?
  • Does your parents' plan cover your health needs? Can you still see doctors in your local area who are in your insurance network?
  • Do you have a spouse or child? They can't have coverage on your parents' insurance. Therefore, enrolling in your own plan may better benefit your own family.

If you work and live independently from your family, this does not disqualify you from staying on your parents' health insurance plan until you turn 26. However, based on your current health needs, you should consider whether staying on your parents' plan will benefit you.

Got questions about coverage? We've got answers! Call Simpson Financial Group, Inc. at (978) 222-3939 for a free health insurance quote.

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Attention: This website is operated by Simpson Financial Group, Inc. and is not the Health Insurance Marketplace website. In offering this website, Simpson Financial Group, Inc. is required to comply with all applicable federal laws, including the standards established under 45 CFR 155.220(c) and (d) and standards established under 45 CFR 155.260 to protect the privacy and security of personally identifiable information. This website may not display all data on Qualified Health Plans being offered in your state through the Health Insurance Marketplace website. To see all available data on Qualified Health Plan options in your state, go to the Health Insurance Marketplace website at

Simpson Financial Group, Inc., which has licensed insurance agents in 50 states. Not all agents are licensed to sell all products. Service and product availability varies by state. Sales agents may be compensated based on a consumer's enrollment in a health plan. Agent cannot provide tax or legal advice. Contact your tax or legal professional to discuss details regarding your individual business circumstances. Our quoting tool is provided for your information only. All quotes are estimates and are not final until consumer is enrolled.