If you’ve ever asked a question like, “Can I put my mom on my health insurance?” you’re in luck because it’s a question that many people are asking these days. The exciting news is that in most instances, the answer is yes!
With the high cost of health insurance, many people are looking for ways to save money. And sometimes, that means putting one or both parents on your insurance policy.
Keep in mind that if you’re considering adding your mother or father to your healthcare plan, it’s important to do your research first. In general, you should check with your insurance company or agent to see if adding them is an option and be prepared for a potentially lengthy process.
Keep reading for more information on when and how to add a dependent to your health insurance plan and what options you may wish to investigate further.
How long can you stay on your parents’ insurance?
Before getting into whether you can add your mom to your insurance, it may be beneficial to answer a few other questions first, like ‘How long can I stay on my parents’ insurance?’ After all, it’s not likely you can add your parents to your insurance if you’re on theirs. (Besides, if they still have coverage, why would they need to be on yours?)
Federal law dictates how long you can be on your parents’ insurance. In many states, the time you’re permitted to remain on your parents’ insurance is even longer than what the federal government allows with dependent coverage to age 26. Exceptions are few.
- Married and unmarried children can remain on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26.
- Some states put no deadline at all for dependents who are disabled.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a boon to young adults. One of the law’s most popular provisions is the relatively recent change allowing children to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies through the age of 26.
How long can kids stay on parents’ insurance across the United States? In broad terms, the ACA mandates coverage until the age of 26. With that said, some states have passed laws that extend insurance coverage well beyond that but with certain limitations.
How long can children stay on parents’ insurance if they are disabled?
There are some exceptions to the 26-year limit. For example:
- In Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, and South Dakota, there is no age limit for dependents who are disabled and incapable of self-sustaining employment.
- In Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, and Rhode Island, there is no age limit for disabled dependents and no employment qualification.
When should you add parents to your plan?
Now let’s switch gears because a time may come when it makes sense for you to no longer be on your parents’ insurance. Instead, your mom or dad may need to be on yours.
For example, there are a few key times when you may want to consider adding your parents to your health insurance plan.
- If they are no longer working and do not have access to health insurance through their own employer, then they will need to find another way to get coverage.
- If your parents are nearing retirement, they may be considering insurance options. In this situation, it’s important to weigh costs and benefits before deciding.
- If you have newly gotten married or had a child recently, you may want to add your parents to your health insurance plan to provide them with coverage.
If you’re looking to add dependents to your insurance plan, do so during the open enrollment period. On the other hand, if you have a qualifying event, you might be able to add a dependent outside of open enrollment.
A qualifying event is usually something like getting married, having a child, or losing coverage. The best way to ascertain if you qualify for an exception is to call your insurance company and simply ask.
Health Insurance Marketplace and Private Insurance
If you’re looking for health insurance, you may be wondering whether to choose a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace or a private insurance company. Both have their pros and cons, so it’s important to compare your options before making a decision.
In most states, the federal government operates the Health Insurance Marketplace. However, the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) and twelve states have their own healthcare marketplaces.
These states are:
- New York
- Rhode Island
If you reside in a state listed above and are looking for health insurance that covers your parents, check with your state marketplace or speak with an agent. You may find that a private health plan is more affordable and offers the same coverage as a Marketplace plan.
Employer Health Plan
If your parents are employed, they may be able to get health insurance through their employer. Employer-sponsored health plans are usually the most affordable option for employees and their families, and they often offer better coverage than individual plans.
To find out if your parents’ employer offers health insurance, you’ll need to ask them or contact their HR department. They’ll need to enroll in the plan during open enrollment if they do offer coverage.
Some employers also offer health savings accounts (HSAs) or health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), which can help employees save money on healthcare costs.
If your parents’ employer doesn’t offer health insurance, they may be able to purchase an individual plan through the Marketplace.
In fact, The Health Insurance Marketplace has various plans for individuals, and they may be able to find an option that’s affordable if they are low income. And if a parent’s income is low enough, they can always apply for Medicaid in their state.
If you’re caring for an older parent, it’s essential to know their options for health insurance. Make sure you understand the basics of Medicaid and how your mother or father can be covered under this program.
Medicaid is a government-run program that offers coverage for some who are pregnant, low-income families and kids, or those over the age of 65. You can apply online or by phone. The process is easy, and some people can help you through the process if you need it.
In 2022, Medicaid covers all individuals with an annual income below $13,590.
If you have parents age 65 or older, it is crucial to understand the different healthcare options available to them. Medicare Part A is just one of many options available. It’s free hospital insurance for those who worked for at least 10 years and paid Medicare taxes.
If you’re looking for a low-cost way to get your parents the Medicare coverage they need, buying Part B is an option (it’s the part of Medicare that has a premium).
If you sign up early, you can avoid paying any fines down the road. Additionally, even if your parents are younger than 65, there may be options available to them, particularly if one of them has a disability.
A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account
A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) is an account that you can use to pay for eligible dependent care expenses.
Eligible expenses include childcare and care for an older parent or disabled spouse, or family member. The DCFSA allows you to set aside a portion of your paycheck pre-tax to use towards these expenses. This can save you money on your taxes and stretch your budget further.
However, keep in mind that there may be contribution limits, and the money does not roll over year to year. Typically, you can put up to $5,000 per year into this type of account, but you’ll either spend it or lose it.
The Bottom Line
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the options for healthcare coverage for your mom, dad, or both parents, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many people find themselves in this position every year.
But there is help available.
You can give your insurance agency a call and speak with an agent or, alternatively, with an elder care attorney. Both options can be a great resource when navigating these waters.