Insurance policies can be complicated and confusing. Despite national legislation, they can vary state to state and plan to plan. A young person trying to find coverage can easily feel daunted by the magnitude of their choices and the bureaucracy they need to navigate and sign up for their own health care. Regardless of the specifics of your situation, however, there are some commonalities that can help you understand the how to transition your child off of your insurance.
Length of Coverage
Thanks to national legislation, you can keep your adult children on your health care until they turn 26 years old. Regardless of their marital status, eligibility for a plan with an employer or financial dependence on you as a parent, your children can stay on your health care. Given that insurance can be very expensive, it may make sense to keep your child on as long as possible. At the time that your children turn 26 years old, they will have to find their own insurance. You may be able to keep your children on your insurance beyond the age of 26 as part of a COBRA plan. The price of this option would be very high, as your employer would not cover any portion of the costs!
If you decide to take your grown-up children off of your health insurance (or if they turn 26), they will be eligible for insurance through a state marketplace. These marketplaces vary from state to state and offer different levels of service. In the state of Massachusetts, you can purchase a bronze, silver or gold plan from a variety of different providers — bronze plans often have a higher deductible and help cover emergencies. The more expensive the plan, the more coverage you receive.
Typically, individuals who want to sign up for insurance through the marketplace have to wait until open enrollment, which begins on November 1, 2015 for the 2016 year. If your children lose coverage because you drop them from your plan or they age out of your policy, they will be eligible for a special enrollment period and can sign up at any time!
A Positive Approach
Insurance is a challenging field to navigate, even for experts in the field. If you do plan to drop your children from your insurance, make sure to foster a positive conversation about insurance policies. Letting them know before the actual change takes place gives them the opportunity to save up for their own plan or find a job that offers them coverage. Talk to them about deductibles, primary care providers, and most importantly, how to save money for an emergency fund. By sharing your own hard-earned wisdom, you give them the tools to succeed as independent adults.
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