How Long Can My Child Be Covered On Health Insurance?

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), children can remain covered under their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26 regardless of whether it comes from either an employer plan or marketplace plan.

Know how much double coverage will cost before making this decision; generally speaking, retaining double coverage will result in higher premiums.


Age limits for dependent coverage depend on both your state and plan. Most plans provide dependent child coverage up to age 26 while some employers may offer longer age limits for group health plans. It also depends on how a plan defines “dependent,” including criteria like relationship, financial dependence, enrollment in school or residency status.

If your child is still covered under their parent’s plan and will soon turn 26 they should remain until either they obtain employment with employer-based coverage, or become old enough for Medicare eligibility. You should check with both their plan administrator and employer benefits department regarding any specifics regarding coverage or Medicare eligibility.

There are exceptions to this rule for children with disabilities; their physician can submit a medical certificate demonstrating they have a disability that will last at least a year and are unable to support themselves through self-sustaining employment. It’s an intricate process and will likely take several trips back and forth to get coverage; nonetheless it’s worth giving it your best shot!

Short-term health insurance should also be taken into consideration, since it can be purchased year-round and approved quickly (usually within 48 hours). Short-term plans tend to be more affordable than major medical policies without needing an open enrollment period or daily limit on payments for specific medical situations.

Young adults looking for coverage have two other options for switching their individual market plan during open enrollment or special enrollment periods; or look to add themselves onto an existing policy via their parents’ workplace or an employer-sponsored plan; in certain instances it might even be cheaper for a parent’s plan than purchasing separate policies for them both; alternatively they can purchase private health insurance directly from insurers who sell individual policies directly to consumers.


Dependents are defined as anyone covered under your health insurance plan as an extension of you as policyholder, such as children or spouses (depending on plan and location). Under the Affordable Care Act, dependents may stay on until age 26; this applies for biological, step, and adopted children alike.

Dependent coverage provides medical expenses for children of dependent status, from routine visits and vaccinations, as well as common issues like ear infections and sore throats, to mental health or sports-related injuries that require the involvement of specialists.

Many parents may decide to continue their child’s coverage into adulthood despite no longer qualifying to claim them as a dependent on their tax return. According to ACA rules, plans and insurers that provide dependent coverage must offer this option up until age 26 even if they no longer live with or claim them as tax dependents on someone else’s tax return.

Most states have updated their insurance laws in accordance with the Affordable Care Act’s dependent coverage requirements, with mandates generally requiring group health plans and individual policies to offer dependent coverage until age 26 for children who fall within this category; some of these states also mandate coverage of unmarried adult children up to age 29 – this requirement can usually be waived off by most insured plans.

Parent who divorce or separate are often uncertain how their divorce or separation will impact the health insurance coverage for their children on one parent’s policy. To protect children’s interests and be informed about options such as COBRA coverage. it’s advisable to speak to an insurer prior to divorce/separation to understand this impact on coverage for you or any future children who might require coverage under another plan.

Are You Shopping for Health Insurance Coverage for You and/or Your Children? Before selecting health coverage plans for themselves and/or their children, they should carefully compare costs among various plans as well as benefits, eligibility and features. Medicaid and CHIP offer low cost or free coverage, while short term health plans cover an array of conditions at lower costs while health insurance marketplace plans provide individual or family plans at various prices.


Under current federal law, children may remain on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 26 (in certain states this period may even extend further), which often makes health coverage cheaper and more convenient than individual plans. Understanding how this coverage operates will enable you to plan accordingly.

To enroll your child in health insurance, start by gathering all the required information for an application – this may include personal and household details – then either submit it online or at an enrollment location. After being processed, your application should provide notification of approval or instructions on which plan meets both your needs and budget best.

If you need assistance getting started, start by speaking to your child’s physician. Also inquire with local health departments or insurers, as they might offer health plans available to your family. Explore plans and rates online marketplaces until you find a plan or rate suitable for you and your family.

Most families with low incomes qualify for public assistance programs like Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which offer free or reduced cost health care to qualifying children. If your family income exceeds these thresholds, they can still access private coverage via marketplace applications.

As soon as you choose a health insurance plan for your child, make sure that any doctors they visit fall under its network. Health plans typically only pay for services provided by providers within their network; otherwise you may face full price for any services rendered outside it – this way you’ll avoid surprise medical bills! Health insurance has become essential in today’s society; families without it could incur costly fines if left without coverage for too long.


Be mindful that health insurance policies have expiration dates – much like food packaging – which, once passed, means claims submitted after this point won’t be covered. Therefore, set yourself reminders and renew your coverage prior to its expiration.

For your child to stay covered, it is necessary to enroll them in an exchange plan during either open enrollment period or special enrollment period. Marketplace plans have higher deductibles and copays than major medical coverage but accept most children with pre-existing conditions.

Cigna Healthcare also provides fixed-payment or fixed-indemnity plans that cover your children for a set amount per day, making these an appealing option if there is no time left before open enrollment and they can afford the higher costs associated with such plans.

Bear in mind that your child’s coverage under your parent’s plan can be tax-free as long as they remain covered until their 26th birthday; otherwise it is considered income for that year.