Ask the Health Insurance Expert
QIf I get married while I'm on my parents' health insurance plan, can I stay on the plan until I turn 26?
Yes, you can stay on your parents' health plan until you turn 26, regardless of your marital status, where you live, whether you go to school or whether you're financially independent. However, the health insurance plan doesn't have to cover your new spouse.
The rule requiring health plans to extend coverage to children up to age 26 is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the landmark health care reform law passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in March 2010. The provision for young adults went into effect in September of that year, and it applies to all individual health plans and new employer-sponsored plans that offer coverage to dependents.
Since then, about 2.5 million young adults have gained health insurance coverage, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before the law, health insurance companies could remove children from their parents' plans as early as age 19 in some states.
The federal Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight offers answers to frequently asked questions about young adults and the Affordable Care Act.
For more about the recent Supreme Court decision on the health care reform law, see Ready to be insured?