The new healthcare law allows you to keep your dependents less than age 26 on your medical insurance plan. As of September 23, 2010, the new healthcare law requires major medical insurance plans to extend coverage to your dependents up to 26 years of age. Previously, your dependents less than age 19 or unmarried children through 23 years of age (in most states) could be enrolled provided they were full-time students.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act clarifies that a health insurance plan, with regard to dependents less than age 26, may not define “dependent” for purposes of eligibility other than in terms of the relationship between the child and the parent (participant). In other words, the following factors cannot be used to determine your dependent’s eligibility: 1) financial dependency on you or any other person, 2) residency with you or any other person, 3) student status, 4) employment, 5) eligibility for other coverage, or 5) any combination of these.
Additionally, you cannot be assessed a premium surcharge solely as a result of covering your dependents less than age 26.
The new healthcare reform law also requires medical insurance companies to give your dependent whose coverage ended, or who was denied coverage (or was not eligible for coverage) an opportunity to enroll. This special enrollment period continues must last for at least 30 days, regardless of whether the health plan would normally offer an open enrollment period.
The above rules apply to the individual market and employer group plans. Medical insurance companies, however, are not required to cover children of your adult dependents.
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