Options For 26 Year Olds

Aged off your parents’ health plan? What medical insurance options do you have?

With the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, you got to stay on your parents plan until age 26. This year you turned 26. So, now what? You get kicked off your parents plan. Happy Birthday!

That’s your reality. So what are your options?

Now it’s time to get health insurance on your own. You can get on a Covered California plan, apply directly with a health insurance carrier, or you might even qualify for Medi-Cal (known as Medicaid outside of California).

Turned 26 Lost Your Health Insurance CoverageIf you end up on a Covered California Plan, you’ll have options, which include most of the major health insurance companies in California, and you might get a huge discount. If you want a PPO with lots of doctor options, choose Blue Shield or Anthem Blue Cross. If you want a high quality HMO, Kaiser Permanente is very popular right now. If you’re looking for super cheap, you might choose Molina or another one of the low-cost HMO’s that are offered in your area.

But I can’t afford it.

If you file your own taxes, based on your income, you may qualify for discounts if you enroll through Covered California. You may get up-front tax credits, or you might even qualify for Medi-Cal. Many Californians are getting discounts that lower the price of coverage by 50%, 70%, 90% or more.

Can my parents pay for it?

Sure. Likely, they’ve already been paying for your medical insurance since you were on their plan. If they still want to pay for you, that’s fine, even though you’re on your own health insurance. Just make sure the bill goes to them!

But I heard that Open Enrollment is over. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply because YOU have a qualifying life event. “Loss of Coverage” is the most common life event, and that’s what you’ve got. You turned 26 and aged off your plan. As long as you apply for coverage within 60 days of getting kicked off of your parents’ plan, your life event is legit, and you can get coverage outside of Open Enrollment, during the Special Enrollment Period.

OK. So what do I do?

You’re young, so I’m guessing that you’re going to want to do this online. Click Get a Quote to get started or call 1-877-752-4737 and press option 4 to go straight to a person who can help you. I’m guessing that you appreciate knowing what options to push to get to a human (You’re welcome!).

You can get an instant quote by filling out a simple form online or you can make the phone call. It’s quick and easy. There’s no obligation. And, no contact information is required.

Just a little word of advice while we’re talking about getting quotes… If you get to a website that wants your email or phone number before they even give you quotes, RUN! They will sell your info to everyone under the sun, and your phone will start ringing off the hook.

I want to make sure I get that discount.

If you think you might qualify for a discount, be sure to enter your income information and household size. If you have $0 income, you’re a ringer for Medi-Cal. If you make over $17,000 a year and less than $47,000 a year, then you’ll likely get a discount on a regular plan. The lower your income is, the greater the discount that you get.

As far as household size, if you’re single, then just put “1”. If you’re married and/or have children, then count all the people that you include when you file your taxes. If you’re married, you have to file taxes as “married filing jointly” in order to qualify for a discount.

The “discount” is usually referred to as a “government subsidy” or an “up-front tax credit”. “Up-front” is the key word. If you qualify for a subsidy, then you’ll never have to pay the full price. You’ll just pay the discounted price each month as your health insurance premium.

So, how do I pay?

First, you’ve got to get a quote and apply. Then, you can pay by credit card, or you can wait to get your bill in the mail. Then, you can pay by check or you can set up auto-pay with the health insurance carrier.


Not sure how Obamacare affects your health care plans in California? Learn how the ACA works in California, including benefits, costs and enrollment.

Covered California is the Golden State’s official health exchange marketplace where individuals, families and small businesses can find high-quality, low-cost California government health insurance.

Learn about Obamacare income guidelines in California using our income limits chart, and see if you’re eligible for government assistance.

Learn about the Covered California website. Find easy online enrollment. Set up your account, log in, buy insurance and more on the California health marketplace website.