In the blink of an eye, the little ones turn into not-so-little ones. Perhaps they join the workforce after graduating high school, learn a trade, or decide to continue their studies. Each year, many young adults fill a prescription or visit a dentist in September, and some find that they are no longer covered under their parental benefits plan. What’s going on? Does your dependent child still have coverage after graduation?
Dependent Benefits Eligibility Age
Despite the fact that you still may view your son or daughter as your dependent child, they may not be eligible to receive these benefits based on their age. This eligibility age will vary by insurance company. Some will cover dependants until age 21/22 if they are unmarried. This means after they graduate high school and they will still have coverage and throughout a standard University or College degree. Some companies will cover your child until the age of 25/26 if they are in full-time studies. Some insurers ask for proof of enrolment in full time studies, others do not. The best practice is to be proactive and ask about it before a claim is denied.
Dependent Status is Key
If your adult child has benefits coverage through their own full-time work, they are supposed to be removed from the parent’s benefit plan. It’s difficult for an insurance company to know if an adult child has coverage on their own, so this is generally reported by the plan member to their company HR/benefits representative when the time comes.
If your child gets married, then they will no longer qualify as your dependent. Even if they are below the eligibility age of your insurer. It is also important to note that your child will not qualify as your dependent even if your child and their spouse have no other benefits plans of their own in place. It is typically a good idea to wait or try and arrange an alternative plan to cover your child.
If your adult child is dependent on you due to a disability, you can apply for overage dependent coverage. Contact your plan administrator or insurance company if this is your situation.
My Dependent was Offered Benefits from Their School
Many colleges or universities will offer a health and dental plan for students to join. If the student already has coverage by a parental plan, the decision to pay for another health and dental plan is likely redundant. Sometimes it can be beneficial based on the coverage available but it would need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For students without coverage from a parental plan the benefits offered from the school may be beneficial. However, the type of coverage offered and the student cost for the plan should be considered carefully. There are alternative options that are sometimes more appropriate for the student. If you have questions about this, contact your plan administrator/HR representative at your organization.
It is always difficult as a parent to think of your children as no longer being your dependants. Just know that they depend on you all the time and even though your benefits plan will eventually stop applying to your children it is important for them to know you when that time will come, so they can be prepared. If they are like one of the millions not covered by a group life and health benefits program, there are other options. They can carry an individual health benefits insurance plan.