When I turn 26 later this year how long do I have to get my own health insurance as I will no longer be on my parents policy?
You have 60 days from the day you turn 26 to get your own health insurance plan, you can enroll before your birthday for coverage that starts when the old plan ends (when you are dropped from your parent's family plan). Here are some things to keep in mind:
- During open enrollment you can enroll in a plan at anytime, outside of open enrollment turning 26 will trigger a 60 day special enrollment period to get coverage. However, you can enroll before your 26th to make sure your plan is in place when your old coverage ends. Generally, coverage you purchased before the 15th of the month starts on the 1st of the following month.
- You can go less than three months without coverage a year and won't owe the fee for those months (must take an exemption with the 8962 form).
- Most young people qualify for Medicaid or Marketplace coverage. However, you can only get Marketplace cost assistance if you don't have coverage through an employer and make between 100% - 400% of the Federal Poverty Level.
- If you are unsure of how much money you will make, consider claiming premium tax credits at the end of the year instead of taking advanced premium tax credits (you may have to repay tax credits if you take too much up front). We suggest getting a Silver plan, find out why here. Keep in mind, tax credits are based on household income and so is Medicaid. That means if your parents claim you as a dependent after your 26th birthday it will affect your tax credit eligibility. Typically young adults get a much better deal filing themselves, but this differs in each situation.
- Whatever you do, make sure to get "minimum essential coverage". This is the only type of coverage that will allow you to avoid the fee (ie don't get short term coverage).