Is it a good idea to stay on your parents' health insurance plan?

One of the new rules that went into effect almost immediately after the passage of the PPACA (“Obamacare”) law was the provision that children could remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26 years old regardless of student status (or any other kind of status, for that matter). So the question comes up a lot – Is this a good idea?
My answer: Maybe.
Obviously a big part of the answer depends on the details. Is it great coverage? How much does it cost to keep the “child” on the plan? Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when thinking through this issue:
Purchasing individual health insurance for a healthy twenty-something usually won’t cost you much money. (Obviously, “much money” is a relative term — suffice to say that insuring a 24-year-old is a lot cheaper than insuring someone older). So if the cost of staying on your parents’ plan is significant, it might be a good idea to get your own. Mom/Dad, if you work for a really large company this probably won’t be an issue; but if you work for a small business, you ought to look into the costs involved.
If you stay on your parents’ plan, you won’t have maternity coverage. Now, in fairness, in most states you won’t be able to get maternity coverage with an individual health insurance plan either. But if you have a group health insurance option through your employer or your spouse’s employer, take this into consideration. We’ve seen this lesson learned the hard way.
If you have significant health issues, you may have trouble getting an individual plan of your own. Individual health insurance plans will be individually underwritten, and at present health insurance companies are allowed to decline an individual’s application for health insurance if there are significant risk factors, or they can accept the application but “rider” (refuse to cover) a particular pre-existing condition.
The bottom line: Think through these issues, check the pricing, and make an informed decision. AC Forrest stands ready to help you do that – simply contact us to talk about the particulars of your situation.