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IBX Insights

How Long Can You Stay on Your Parent’s Health Insurance?

By May 2, 2018December 11th, 2023Health Insurance Member Resources
A mother helps her college-bound daughter load the car

One of the most helpful innovations of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the provision that allows dependents to remain on a parent or guardian’s health insurance plan until they turn 26. This helps young adults maintain continuous health coverage through the often unpredictable years after high school.

But can you stay on your parent’s health plan if you’re in college? How about if you move out, or get married? We get these questions a lot, so we thought we’d share some answers.

You Are Covered Until Age 26

As the law currently stands, you can stay on your parent’s health plan until you turn 26, even if you are:

  • Married
  • Not living with your parent
  • Not financially dependent on your parent
  • Attending school
  • Eligible to enroll in your employer’s health plan

Basically, you can remain covered up to your 26th birthday! But what happens after that?

Be Prepared For the Next Step

Any coverage you had under your parent’s health plan can end as soon as the first of the month following your 26th birthday. This includes any Adult Vision and Adult Dental coverage you had with your parent’s plan.

Here’s where you need to be prepared so you don’t experience a lapse in coverage. In the months leading up to your 26th birthday, find out if your parent who insures you is enrolled through an employer or through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

If your parent’s health plan is offered through an employer…

You will qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. This means that you can apply for health insurance up to 60 days before or after your 26th birthday. Check with your parent’s health plan benefits administrator to find out exactly when your coverage ends. Some employers will allow you to stay on your parent’s group plan through the end of the plan year.

If your parent bought health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace…

You can stay on your parent’s plan until coverage ends on December 31 of that year, no matter when your birthday is. If you haven’t found other coverage, you can apply for a new health insurance plan during Open Enrollment. The Open Enrollment period typically begins in November and ends in December.

Have any other questions? Here’s how to get in touch.


Paula Sunshine

Paula Sunshine is senior vice president and chief marketing executive at Independence Blue Cross. She oversees all commercial and consumer marketing activities, including digital assets such as and the IBX mobile app. Ms. Sunshine earned a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics from Emory University and a master of business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.