The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows you to add or keep your adult children on your health insurance until they turn 26. However, not every child needs this help, and in some cases you may want to consider removing them from your plan.
Keeping adult children on your health insurance as long as possible may be a simple way to provide some additional assistance while they find their way financially, especially right after they’ve graduated from college. But you may also have concerns about keeping your adult kids covered, perhaps fearing they won’t be prepared to handle the responsibility of health insurance once they turn 26.
Here are some things to consider when deciding how long to keep your children on your health insurance.
Keeping your child covered
If your children are under age 26 and still on your health insurance, certain rules dictate their eligibility for insurance coverage and what happens once they lose it.
Your children can remain on your health insurance even if they are married, living on their own, or no longer claimed by you as a dependent. However, the rules may be different depending on whether you purchased your insurance plan via the Healthcare Marketplace or are covered on a plan through an employer.
For example, some work-based plans may grant covered children access to the Healthcare Marketplace for the 60 days leading up to their 26th birthday, giving them a chance to find another plan that works for them. However, for Marketplace plans, children must apply during open enrollment, which occurs during set dates each year, usually in the fall. A list of the general rules can be found here.
The details regarding healthcare coverage for adult children can also vary depending on your particular plan, so you should look into the specifics before making any decisions. In addition, your insurance provider may have certain procedures in place to help adult children with transitioning to their own coverage.
When to consider removing your children from your plan
If you decide to remove your child from your healthcare plan before his or her 26th birthday, it may be straightforward, but it also could be very difficult.
Consider a situation where your adult son (under age 26) has been working for several years in a desired field and is offered healthcare coverage by an employer. It may no longer make financial sense for you to cover his healthcare, despite any eligibility.
You might also be concerned that allowing your children to remain on your plan is not properly preparing them to handle their healthcare or other financial responsibilities themselves. Whatever the reason, it’s important to take the time to think through your decision and its potential impacts.
Consider, for example, your children’s capabilities. Can they financially afford their own coverage? Do they know how they’ll go about obtaining coverage? Could they afford the fee required for not having coverage?
You may be able to help your adult children move off of your plan by introducing them to the Healthcare Marketplace and reviewing different options with them. If you have a financial concern, you could also request that your children help you with the costs of keeping them under your coverage.
Ultimately, the decision to remove a child from your health insurance may come down to a number of factors, but the decision is yours, and as with any financial decision, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of doing so.
All children will have to leave their parents’ insurance coverage eventually, so taking the initiative before the deadline and educating them on this process might be the best way to prepare them and provide you with some relief, both personal and financial.
Dustin Pellegrini is a senior web producer and writer at Think Glink Media, where he specializes in reporting on identity protection and credit. He studied writing and visual media at Columbia College Chicago.