Should You Stay on Your Parents’ Health Insurance Plan?

Should You Stay on Your Parents’ Health Insurance Plan?

If you’re younger than 26, you’ve probably heard a lot about the new legislation that will allow you to stay on your parent’s health insurance. The question is, is this the best deal for you?

New Eligibility Rules

Under age 26, you don’t need to be enrolled in school or be financially dependent on your parents to qualify for their company benefits. If you have a job that offers coverage, however, you won’t be eligible for your parents' plan. This extends to those who are married—you'll still qualify, but your spouse and children will not.

The Rules Will Take Effect in January

This provision of health care reform, passed in March 2010, doesn’t take effect immediately because Congress understands that it takes time for the administrative and budget planning process to occur in companies. So, this provision of the law is tied to an employer’s plan year. The law will become effective at the start of your parents' plan year after September 23, 2010. For most companies, this is January 1, 2011. And, you’ll be able to enroll sometime this fall.

Is Your Parents' Plan the Best Deal in Town?

Maybe. Chances are your parents’ employer heavily subsidizes the cost of their coverage. But, if they do not, you may pay less for an individual plan or plan available through your university. If you have a spouse or domestic partner and you’ll qualify for his or her benefits, you’ll want to closely examine those coverage options as well.


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