at what age is a dependent child considered an adult?

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I have a situation with an insurance carrier that I am unable to find information on. The mother is insured thru her employer and has her daughter on the policy as a dependent. The stepfather put the step daughter on his policy. The stepfather is now deceased but the mother cobra’s the insurance. Now the mothers insurance company is stating that due to the daughters age (20) they are no longer primary.”

Asked February 4, 2019

1 Answer


Under California law, any group insurance plan that came into effect September 23, 2010 or later falls in the same line as the federal Health Care Reform Law. This means that dependent children are to retain their coverage up until the age of 26 years, whether they reside with the employed adult under whose policy they are covered or not. This age limit can be extended even further if the dependent is disabled or enrolled in a secondary or post-secondary institution as a full-time student.

State Group health insurance policies are legally required to comply with the California dependent coverage laws. The COBRA policy mentioned maintains similar properties to a normal policy while it runs its 18-36-month course. This means that the daughter is supposed to retain all benefits that she would’ve prior to the establishment of a COBRA policy as a replacement for a normal policy. It was mentioned that the daughter is 20 years old. Considering that the COBRA policy is supposed to mirror the policy it was born from, it is expected that the daughter remains covered once she has not yet reached the age of 26. Any deviation from this is a violation of the state laws.

Answered February 8, 2019 by todd02

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