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Turning 26? Here Are Some Health Insurance Options For You

Young adults are usually covered under their parents’ health insurance policy until the time they turn 26. But exceptions are there. Talking about the ACA or Affordable Care Act, there is a provision through which millions of those in their early 20s can stay covered without having to pay high premiums until they attain the age of 26. Now, what is on the cards when young adults start the 26th year of their lives? What are the options they have regarding a health insurance policy? If you are among those who have recently turned 26 or will be turning so shortly, you should have in-depth knowledge about what happens when you age out of the health insurance policy of your parents.

What is the Permissible Age Limit to Stay on the Health Insurance Policy of Your Parents?

Generally, young adults can continue receiving health coverage under the health insurance policy of their parents till the age of 26. However, a few states in the U.S. allow children to stay covered under parents’ coverage till the time they turn 30 or even 31. For instance, the children in New York have the liberty to stay covered under their parent’s health policy until 30, but this will be valid only if they are unmarried. According to sources, the permissible age limit for unmarried people in New Jersey, without having any dependents, is 31.

Is it a Good Idea to Skip Health Policy if You are in Your 20s?

In a majority of the states, having a health insurance policy is not mandatory. As per the demand of the Affordable Care Act, there should be no one without health insurance in the United States. However, the rule of penalizing someone who doesn’t have a health policy has been removed by Congress. The states that have made it mandatory for the residents to have a health policy are New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, and California. The District of Columbia is also included in the list. All in all, 45 states do not require their residents to have a health policy.

With that being said, it’s always wise to enroll in a health insurance plan when someone is young and healthy. Medical costs in the US can be huge. Therefore, if you want to avoid burning a hole in your pockets while paying for your healthcare, you should sign up for a health plan. One doesn’t know what’s in store for the future. So, it’s always smart to get one.  A high-deductible health plan is a good choice. The major benefit is that you wouldn’t have to pay higher premiums. But out-of-pocket costs are higher. If you are turning 26 and going to lose your parents’ health coverage, here are the options you have.

Employer’s Health Insurance

If you are looking for the cheapest and easiest way to get health coverage, the best option you have is to get it from your employer. Employers shell out lion’s share of healthcare expenses. As a result, it becomes automatically cheaper for a young adult. The upside of this is that an employer’s health insurance costs you less and offers nice benefits. The downside is that you might get stuck to one or two plans when you are availing of an employer’s health insurance.


In case you have a low income, you might very well be eligible for Medicaid. Check whether your state is expanding Medicaid and learn what it implies for you. In total, 38 states expanded eligibility for Medicaid so people of up to 138% of the Federal Government’s poverty level can be eligible for Medicaid. The cost will depend on your income and family size, but it will be much lower than private health insurance.


Though COBRA is particularly for those who have lost their jobs, the plan is also available for ones who are not covered under their parents’ plan anymore. You can choose COBRA coverage within two months of losing your health previous insurance. However, the cost is a bit on the higher side, and your former helper will not offer any help from their side.

There are other popular options available that you can choose from after you grow out of your parents’ health policy. The list includes spouse’s health insurance plan, short-term health plans, individual health plans, so on and so forth.

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