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Dependent Children Covered to Age 26

This benefit offers peace of mind to parents who worry that their children might choose to go without health insurance while continuing their education or beginning their work career without health benefits. Keeping young, healthy adults insured helps create a better mix of people in the health insurance risk "pool," which benefits everyone.

The law allows most young adults to remain on their parents' health plan until the age of 26. In the past, dependent coverage might have depended on the child's student or marital status. That is no longer the case.

Adult children can remain or re-enroll on their parents' plan regardless of whether they are in school, living with the parent, married or otherwise financially dependent on their parents. In most cases, a dependent can remain or re-enroll in a parent's plan even if he or she is eligible for coverage through his or her employer group, with just one exception; grandfathered health plans do not need to extend coverage to young adults if they are eligible for coverage outside of the parent's plan. That will change in 2014, when all health plans are required to allow young adults to stay on a parents' plan until the age of 26.