The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 says if you're eligible for medical coverage under your parents’ health insurance policy, you can stay on their plan until you're 26. It doesn’t matter if you get married before then. Once you do hit the big 2-6, you're off their books unless your parents’ plan is written to say otherwise.
Health Care Reform
The Affordable Care Act changed the dependent coverage elements of individual and employer-sponsored plans. Previously, once you turned 19, you were cut off from a parental insurance plan unless you were a full-time college student. The plan doesn't have to cover your spouse or children.
This all comes down to if your parents have a plan with dependent coverage. Most group health plans do have that, so you can stay with them even if you’re eligible to enroll in one of your own. You could lose coverage on the day you turn 26, at the end of the month or not until the policy year ends. That may depend on what state you live in since there is no blanket dependent coverage rule.
If you're getting married, just ask your parents to contact their benefits administrator about your status. If they've got the dependent coverage and you're under 26, you're going to qualify unless there are some special circumstances in play. If you don't qualify, the sooner you know the better.
You can't be carried on your parents' insurance if it's a grandfathered health plan -- one that was already in effect in March 2010. A grandfathered plan doesn't have to cover adult children younger than 26 if they're eligible for group health coverage under another employer-sponsored plan. As of January 1, 2014, all group plans that offer dependent coverage must allow adult children up to the age of 26 to stay on their parents' plan regardless of whether another group plan is available.
Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.