Frequently Asked QuestionsDependent Coverage

1. How does the law affect my dependents?

2. Does this provision apply to all health plans?

3. Can parents cover adult children who are married?

4. Will a child automatically stay on his or her parent's policy up to age 26?

5. Do adult children need to be full-time students to be covered to age 26?

6. Does this provision apply to “grandfathered” plans?

7. Does this provision apply to groups with “dependents to 30”?

1. How does the law affect my dependents?
All group health plans that offer dependent coverage must now make that coverage available until a dependent reaches 26 years of age; this is so even if the dependent lives separately from his or her parents, is no longer a student, files his or her own tax return, or is married.

Independence Blue Cross voluntarily implemented this provision in 2010 before it was required, and continued health insurance coverage for young adults up to age 26 who were covered by their parents' individual or employer-sponsored health plans. We took that step because we believed it was important to allow young adults to remain on their parents’ plans to help families avoid a potential gap in coverage until the coverage-to-26 provision of the law went into effect.

2. Does this provision apply to all health plans?
This provision applies to all individual policies and groups regardless of size and whether they are fully or self funded. In 2014, grandfathered plans must also offer employees the option of covering dependents up to age 26.

3. Can parents cover adult children who are married?
Yes. The provision applies to married and unmarried children even when they do not live with their parents.

4. Will a child automatically stay on his or her parent's policy up to age 26?
Yes. Employers that offer dependent coverage are required to keep adult children enrolled until they turn 26.

5. Do adult children need to be full-time students to be covered to age 26?
No. Parents can cover adult children up to age 26 regardless of their student status.

6. Does this provision apply to “grandfathered” plans?
Yes. This provision applies to all group plans and to individual products. However, for plans years that started before January 1, 2014, grandfathered plans did not have to provide coverage for adult dependents who were employed and eligible for coverage through their employer. For plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014, all plans, including those with grandfathered status, must cover all dependents under 26 even if the dependent is employed and is eligible for coverage through his or her employer.

7. Does this provision apply to groups with “dependents to 30”?
No. Members enrolled in a group with dependents to 30 are enrolled in an individual contract.