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Do I have to be a full-time student to stay on my parent’s health insurance? Consumer Q&A

By on January 4th, 2013
Filed: Advice, College Students, Health Insurance, Health Reform, You, Young Adults

The most common health insurance questions we see on Yahoo Answers revolve around the provision of the health reform law that allows adults under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans.

Every month on Yahoo Answers a surprising number of young adults write in to ask for clarification on this point.

Recently, however, we took a question from a young woman with an interesting spin on it. She knows that she can now stay on her parents’ plan until age 26, but her parents are telling her that in order to do so she must stay in school full-time.

She asks: Is this true, or are my parents lying to me to make me stay in school?

The eHealthInsurance reply was voted Best Answer:

First of all, go to school full-time if you can. If your parents are willing to encourage you in that direction, or even help you afford it, that’s a good thing.

Second, yes, your parents may be fibbing. Or maybe they just misunderstand.

This is a newish thing, but the health reform law now allows parents to keep adult children on their health insurance plan until they turn 26. This is true whether or not you’re in school. You could even be married and stay on a parent’s plan until age 26 – though your spouse wouldn’t be eligible for enroll in your parent’s plan.

A couple more things to be aware of:

Though they may do so, your parents are not required to keep you on their health insurance plan. They can drop you if they decide to.

Also, if you get a job and your employer offers health insurance, your parent’s plan is no longer obligated to keep you enrolled – even if you decline your employer’s health insurance. Keep that in mind too.

Hope that helps!

Image by Flickr user DorkyMum


About Douglas Dalrymple

Doug Dalrymple is a member of the communications team at eHealth, Inc. and has worked in the health insurance and technology industries for fifteen years. He works on communications strategy, content creation and management, project management, and corporate messaging.

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