Health Insurance is your protection from life’s medical emergencies.
Health insurance works like this: You pay a monthly subscription fee to a health insurance company, the health insurance company agrees to pay most, but usually not all of your medical bills.
Health insurance provides money to pay for health care in 10 specific categories:
- Emergency medical services, such as ambulance rides to the hospital
- Hospitalization for illness or disease
- Laboratory tests, such as blood work and tests on tissue specimens
- Management of chronic diseases, such as Crohn’s Disease
- Maternity and newborn care, including labor and delivery
- Mental health and substance abuse treatment
- Pediatric services, including vision and dental care
- Prescription drugs, including brand name and generic varieties
- Preventative care, such as mammograms
- Rehabilitation services, such as physical therapy
Not all health care is expensive. For example, routine cancer screenings can be cheap. Physical examinations are also not expensive. Clinics often offer these services for free.
Routine check-ups are not the only reason why you have health insurance. You have health insurance to protect against emergencies. Health insurance covers the medical costs for you and your family, which means that you won’t have to choose between paying for healthcare bills or paying back student loans, as an example.
Health insurance saves you money. It can cost more than $10,000 to deliver a baby in a hospital. With health insurance, giving birth can cost less than $100. It can cost more than $25,000 to have your appendix burst. With health insurance, an emergency appendectomy can cost almost nothing.
Remember, health insurance costs are manageable. Hospital bill costs are not. You get health insurance to protect yourself and your family from those bills. Without health insurance, your whole bank account, savings account, and retirement fund could be wiped out overnight. Be sure to get proper coverage.
How Long Can You Stay on Your Parents’ Insurance?
You’re able to stay on your parents’ health insurance plan until you turn 26 years old. You don’t even have to live with your parents to go on their health insurance. In fact, you can marry and still be on your parents’ insurance as long as you’re not 26.
You might not realize it, but there are many life circumstances in which you can still be on your parents’ plan, including:
- You’re married
- You don’t live with your parents
- You’re attending school
- You’re eligible for your own health insurance through your employer or school
- You’re financially independent of your parents
In all of these instances, your parents can add you to their health insurance.
What If I Used to Be on My Parents’ Plan?
You could go back to your parents’ plan even if you were on it previously. As long as you’re less than 26, you are eligible to go onto their plan.
How Do My Parents Add Me To Their Insurance?
Your parents could add you to their health insurance during their employer’s open enrollment period. Open enrollment is a time once a year that businesses allow their employees to switch insurance or change their policies, including adding children.
Open enrollment periods vary by company. They’re often in the fall or winter.
People can change their insurance plans during the rest of the year only when there is a “qualifying life event.” Some qualifying life events include:
- Loss of health insurance coverage, including a child turning 26 and being taken off a parent’s plan
- Changes in the household, including marriages, deaths, and births
- Changes in the residence, such as moving to a different town or a student moving to or returning from school
- Changes in income, so the person is eligible for a different type of insurance, such as Medicaid
Employers are usually strict about only allowing health insurance changes during open enrollment for the cases above. However, if your parents want to add you to their insurance, they should speak to their employer’s benefits person.
They can explain the situation and see if the employer will allow it. If they can’t add you until open enrollment, you may have to wait to get insurance through them.
How Much More Will My Parents Pay for Insurance to Add Me?
Whether your parents pay more for health insurance depends on whether they have to switch from a single plan to a family plan.
Single insurance coverage covers one person. This type of coverage is usually much cheaper than a family plan, which can include multiple family members.
If your parents have a family plan, then adding you might not increase their premiums. Premiums are what people pay for insurance out of their paychecks.
If your parents have to switch to a family plan, they can expect to see a premium increase.
The average premium for single coverage in an employer-based plan is about $500 a month. Family coverage in an employer-based plan is about $1,500 a month.
If they already have a family plan, then adding you might not increase premiums depending on the plan and how many family members are on the plan.
What if I Want to Get My Own Health Insurance Plan?
You can get your own health insurance plan through an employer or the individual market.
The individual market is also called the Health Insurance Marketplace. These are plans that you buy on your own without an employer’s help.
Individual insurance plans for people in their 20’s and early 30’s are usually not pricey. Individuals that age are usually healthy, so they can expect to pay less than $300 in premiums each month for an individual insurance policy. The total cost depends on the level of coverage and how much you make.
One issue with individual plans is that some states don’t have many insurance companies in the individual market. This may mean in some cases that you won’t have many choices.
Who Should Go Onto Their Parents’ Insurance?
You don’t have your own health insurance. If you’re not insured, your parents’ insurance is a great solution to your problem. They may have to change for a more expensive family policy if they have single coverage.
Your employer doesn’t provide health insurance. If your employer doesn’t offer insurance, you should talk to your parents about adding you to their plan. The same goes if your job offers insurance to employees only if they work at least a certain number of hours and you don’t work that much.
Your employer’s health insurance is just too expensive. If you find your employer’s offerings are too pricey, check with your parents to see if adding you to their plan wouldn’t break the bank for them. Better yet, offer to pay the added cost of putting you on the health plan if there’s an increase.
Who Should Not Go Onto Their Parents’ Insurance?
If you’re living out of state, your parents’ insurance might not work for you. For instance, health insurance companies have doctors signed up to their plans. If you’re living in another state and your parents’ insurance is only available in their state, you might not have any available physicians nearby. In that case, it’s worth looking to get your own health insurance plan.
What Do I Do When I Turn 26?
When you turn 26, you have to find your own health insurance. You will be able to shop immediately for a new plan. You don’t have to wait for Open Enrollment to do this. Turning age 26 is considered a qualifying life event. Before you turn 26, you should check with your employer about possible health insurance offerings. You can also look into getting a health plan through the individual insurance market.
What if I Don’t Want Health Insurance?
Health insurance is a good idea. No one is invincible. One car accident, injury, or illness could wipe out your savings. It’s best to not go without health insurance.
Shopping for Your Own Health Insurance
You can go with an employer plan if your employer offers one. Or you can go through the individual market. If you’re looking for an individual plan, your first stop should be the HealthCare.gov website. No matter where you live this is a good plan to start.
It will direct you through the process of purchasing an individual health plan. If your state has its own health insurance marketplace website, HeathCare.gov may direct you to that site.
You will enter your information on either the HealthCare.gov website or your state website, and it will let you know what individual health insurance offerings are available for you.
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