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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Health Insurance for Young Adults: FAQ

Health insurance is changing for many adults. That includes young people like you who are in their late teens and early 20s.

Whether you're a student, looking for a job, or working, you have options for health insurance you may not know about.

I've heard I can stay on my parents' health insurance plan. Is that true?

Yes, as long as you're younger than 26. The law now allows you to stay on your parents' health plan up to the age of 26.

There is one exception. If your parents are in a group plan that existed on March 23, 2010, you may be excluded from coverage if you are eligible to enroll for health insurance through your employer. That exception will end on Jan. 1, 2014.

What if I'm in school or already married? Will my parents' health insurance still cover me?

Yes. You can keep getting health insurance on your parents' plan until age 26, even if you're a student or married.

Adding you to your parents' policy could increase what they have to pay each month for a premium. Family coverage costs more than individual coverage or for an individual plus a spouse.

Do I have to be living with my parents to be on their health insurance?

No. You don't even have to live in the same state as as your parents.

You can be on their insurance plan until you turn 26, even if you're working and are not financially dependent upon your parents. The only thing that matters in this case is your age. Until your 26th birthday, you can be on their plan -- if they agree to that.

If I have to enroll in a health plan in my state's Marketplace, what are the most affordable plans?

If you buy a plan through your state's Marketplace , also called an Exchange, you'll have a choice of health plans at different levels of coverage. And you'll have choices about how you spread the cost of care between premiums, which is the amount you pay each month for insurance, and how much you want to pay when you get health care.

Here are two types of health plans that will likely appeal to young adults because of their lower monthly payments.

  • High-deductible health plans have lower premiums than traditional health insurance, so you pay less each month for your health plan. You get free preventive health services with these plans. But you have to pay the full cost of all other health care until you meet your deductible. Only then will your insurance pay anything toward your care.
  • Catastrophic plans cover preventive care and at least three primary care visits a year, even if you have not yet paid all the deductible. In 2014, the deductible for these plans may be as high as $6,400 for one adult and $12,800 for a family.

On your state's Marketplace, you may be eligible for financial aid based on how much money your family makes in a year. One type of aid is a tax credit, which lowers how much you have to pay each month for your insurance premium. Another type of aid is a cost-sharing subsidy, which saves you money when you get health care by lowering the deductibles and copays or coinsurance.

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