The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that a dependent can stay on their parent’s health insurance policy until they turn 26. Some states extend this age. Nonetheless, when dependents leave their parent’s health coverage, they have several options, including employer coverage, marketplace policies, and federally-funded programs such as Medicaid. Will you be turning 26 soon and are concerned about what to do next to keep health insurance? If so, check out health insurance options for people turning 26.
Choose Another Health Insurance Plan in Time
When do you have to choose another plan? It depends on your parents’ healthcare policy. If they have a marketplace policy, you’ll have until the end of the year to register for a policy, even if you’re already halfway through 26. You’d have to submit your marketplace healthcare insurance application and be aware of the open enrollment dates in your state. Open enrollment in Maryland is from Nov 1st-Jan 15th.
If your parents have a plan through their employer, you will have until the end of the month you turn 26 to choose a new health insurance plan. Also, turning 26 is a qualifying event that opens up a special enrollment period (SEP) where you can buy and have a plan. SEPs occur when life changes happen, such as becoming married, divorced, having a baby, or relocating to another state. In these cases, a person and their family will need a different type of coverage.
Your SEP will begin 60 days before and continues 60 days after you lose coverage. You can access the state health insurance marketplace and decide which coverage you want during this time.
4 Health Insurance Options
Here are the four options you have if you’re turning 26 and you want to enroll in a healthcare plan:
- Employer-provided health insurance: Most companies offer full-time employees health coverage. If you’re working a full-time job, you can tell your employer that you’re turning 26, and they will let you know how to apply for health coverage. Most full-time companies also offer supplemental benefits such as vision and dental.
- School-based coverage: If you attend a university, the school might offer a health insurance policy to full-time students. This option can be affordable for many graduate school students who might be getting older and aging out of their parent’s coverage.
- Individual health insurance: Do you not have access to insurance through an employer? Are you not in school? Then, you can apply for affordable coverage through your state health insurance marketplace.
- Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): They will ask about your income when you register for state health insurance. If you are unemployed or aren’t making much money, you can enroll in your state’s Medicaid program.
Marketplace Healthcare Based on Tiers
Whether a person is 26 or 56, understanding health insurance plans isn’t always easy. Whether your employer offers you a policy or you shop on the marketplace, you’ll see the words “gold,” “bronze,” or other metal references that indicate different tiers and signify whether your premium will be more or less expensive.
Here is what these tiers mean:
- Gold and Platinum: High monthly premiums; low deductible, best for adults who need monthly prescription drug refills (such as diabetics)
- Silver: Average premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums; excellent for anyone in their 20s who might be starting a family
- Catastrophic and Bronze: The most cost-effective policy; best for young adults who are relatively healthy and don’t have high medical costs.
We hope you’ve found this guide on health insurance options for people turning 26 helpful. Not only does everyone need health insurance to prepare for unexpected changes in health. However, life insurance is also vital to have regardless of age. If you’d like to learn more details about how to buy life insurance, reach out to us today.
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Malden Solutions has a wealth of expertise in providing employer insurance solutions, HR solutions, and individual insurance solutions to businesses both big and small. Our team of seasoned professionals can help you navigate the rapidly-changing world of insurance with ease. We partner with businesses and individuals throughout the country to provide our dedicated services for employee benefits but also work within our surrounding communities in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Contact us today to learn more about how we can provide effective, dynamic solutions for your business. Stay connected with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.