How old do you have to be to buy your own health insurance coverage?

UPDATED: Feb 11, 2013

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UPDATED: Feb 11, 2013Fact Checked

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Asked February 11, 2013

1 Answer

Under the law, a young adult can remain on their parent's health insurance policy until the age of 26. This means that as long as you are living in your parent's home and are under 27 years of age, you can be added to their policy rather than purchasing one of your own. This law was passed to make it easier for young adults to have health insurance coverage, and is one of the first parts of the ACA, known as Obamacare, to have been enacted.

Insurance policies, including health insurance, are legal contracts. Because they are legally binding, the law prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from entering into the contract. The exception to this is when a person under 18 is legally emancipated, meaning they are responsible for their own welfare.

Typically, if you are still living in your parent or guardian's home and are considered their dependent, then you cannot get health insurance on your own. If, on the other hand, you pay your own rent, purchase your own groceries and are otherwise independent, then you are considered emancipated and can enter into legal contracts without a parent or guardian's approval.

What this means is that most young people cannot purchase a health insurance plan until they are at least 18. However, it is not against the law for someone as young as 16 to own a health insurance policy, provided that person is employed and pays their own way. If you are considering getting health insurance and you are under 18, contact the insurance company and ask them what their rules are regarding health insurance for minors.

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Answered February 11, 2013 by Anonymous

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