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No longer required to leave their parents' health insurance coverage if they are under 26, the Affordable Care Act made this option available in 2010. Those who didn't have access to health insurance through their new work or didn't want to pay for a university's health plan benefited from this provision. If you are under 26, you can continue to be covered by your parent's health insurance plan even if you have your insurance through work, are married, have children, or are not eligible to be claimed as a tax dependent. One estimate from the Department of Health and Human Services suggests that more than 2 million young adults (between the ages of 19 and 25) received health insurance through the provision between 2010 and 2013.

When You Will Lose Health Insurance Through Your Parents

If a parent's health insurance policy includes coverage for dependents, the ACA requires that the child be included in the policy until age 26. The Department of Labor states that this rule applies to children who have not yet married and those who have, as well as all health plans, including employer-sponsored coverage.

Choosing the Type of Insurance Plan

Understanding the many options, the degree of coverage to anticipate, and the expenses involved in purchasing health insurance is essential before starting your first policy search. A few of the most prevalent health insurance strategies are outlined here.

Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO)

Unless it's an emergency, if you have an EPO, you'll have to pay out of pocket for all medical care not provided by a provider in the network.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) provide care and preventative health services through contracting with doctors, sometimes within a defined service area. Except in extreme cases, this policy only pays for the care given by providers within the plan's network.

Point of Service (POS)

When you use a POS to access network services, you can save money on visits to the doctor and hospital. A primary care physician recommendation is required for specialty care.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

PPOs provide discounts on medical treatment if you use in-network clinics and hospitals. The need for a referral to see a specialist is waived under this plan.

Common Health Insurance Options For 26-Year-Olds

Once you graduate from your parent's plan, there are various health insurance options.

Short-Term Health Insurance

Short-term health insurance can give temporary coverage for up to 36 months while you search for a more permanent policy through your work or another source.

Individual Or Family Plan

Searching for cheap health insurance is a breeze with Progressive Health by eHealth, whether you need coverage after leaving your parents' plan or for yourself, your spouse, and your children.


Health insurance premiums for you and your family may be withdrawn automatically from your paycheck at many workplaces.

College/University Provided

If you are enrolled full-time, your school might provide health insurance coverage. This is often the least expensive choice, if not free.

Health Exchanges

Healthcare coverage for individuals and families is available through government-run exchanges. Your household's income level will determine your eligibility for a subsidy.


These programs might be accessible through your state's health insurance exchange if your income is at or below the federal poverty line. If you'd like further information, please check out CMS.gov.


COBRA plans let you continue your parents' group insurance for up to 36 months at a fee.

Some States Extend the Age Limit

There are several exceptions to the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) age-26 regulation, and some states have legislation that enables you to stay on your parent's health insurance policy longer. The following states have provisions that make the health care law repeal or amendment less likely.


Your out-of-pocket expenses for medical care can be significantly decreased by grasping the foundations of health insurance. For those deciding whether to stay on their parent's plan or to switch to another one, understanding how your health conditions may affect your monthly premiums and the amount of your deductible, which hospitals or doctors are considered in-network and which are considered out-of-network, and how the number of dependents on a family insurance plan affects the cost of the policy are all crucial factors to take into account. You might offer to pay a portion of the cost of your insurance coverage if your parents are paying a higher monthly premium because you are an adult and employed full-time.

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