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26 and Uninsured: Options After You Age Out Your Parents' Plan

Posted on August 25, 2015 in Insurance

Dental office

Birthdays often mark major milestones: Driver's license at 16, voter registration at 18, your first legal drink at 21…

…and getting kicked off of your parents' insurance at 26.

Prior to blowing out your 26 candles, dental or health insurance was probably not top-of-mind. That may be because your parents' coverage made things easy.

It's important to have health, dental or vision insurance, even if you don't get sick very often. Your oral health is a window to your overall health, often serving as a vantage point for detecting disease.

Taking the leap to selecting your own benefits can be intimidating. Here's a breakdown of options to help you survive the switch:


Some health plans offer COBRA continuation coverage, which allows 18 – 36 months of coverage after you age out of your parents' plan. Learn if you're eligible.

2. Employee Health Benefits

If your job offers health insurance, you'll likely have 30 – 60 days to enroll after you lose your parents' benefits, even if it's not open enrollment.

If your parents' plan included dental and vision coverage, but your current job doesn't, tell your employer the benefits of having these benefits! Or look into getting your own individual plan.

3. Private Health Plans

Individual benefit plans may not be as expensive as you think. Price out your options and develop a savings plan. You may have to make some tough choices, but you'll stay covered and healthy.

4. Government Health Plans

You may qualify for state-funded programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. Browse the health insurance exchange to find a plan for for your needs and budget.

As an emerging adult, insurance might seem like just another bill to pay, or deduction from your paycheck. But remember the cost is too high not to have it.