Health insurance coverage for kids under 26
Per federal law, you can remain on your parents’ health insurance until your 26th birthday in most states. There are no restrictions before then, so you’re eligible for coverage under your parents’ plan even if you’re:
- Not in school
- A parent yourself
- Not living with your parents
- Financially independent/not claimed as a tax dependent
Can I stay on my parents’ health insurance after I turn 26?
No, not in most states. There are several states offering extensions beyond age 26 with certain limitations. For example, New Jersey allows children to stay on a parents’ policy until age 31 if the child is unmarried and has no dependents. Learn more about age exceptions to dependent coverage in your state and how the Affordable Care Act applies.
How long do I have to get health insurance after I turn 26?
If you were covered through your parents’ employer and you’re turning 26, your window to get a new health insurance plan in place without a gap in coverage typically lasts until the end of your birthday month. When you’re switching health insurance plans, you can typically enroll at any time — no need to wait for an “open enrollment” period.
Learn more about how health insurance works.
Do I need health insurance if I’m young and healthy?
Health insurance is essential for all, no matter your age or well-being. Accidents and illnesses can occur without warning, and expenses from medical emergencies can quickly become overwhelming. Additionally, health plans may cover pregnancies, pre-existing conditions, lab work, rehab costs, mental health services, and more.
Can my parents kick me off their health insurance before I turn 26?
Yes, your parents can kick you off their health insurance. Once you turn 18, your health care bills are