The federal government considers children 26 years old or younger dependents as a result of national health care legislation passed in 2010. The goal is to extend coverage of dependents who lose their coverage under Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan at age 19. This change in Blue Cross coverage was one of the immediate effects of the passage of the national health care legislation.
For parents to continue having their children covered under their Blue Cross health insurance plans, the dependents must be 26 years old or younger and unmarried. Before 2010, extending coverage to older children could be achieved only if the child was enrolled as a fulltime student. That is no longer the case under legislation called the Young Adults and the Affordable Care Act. This legislation was effective as of March 30, 2010.
Military Veteran Dependents
For a military veteran to be eligible for extended coverage, the dependent must be 30 years old or younger and unmarried. The dependent does not need to be enrolled as a fulltime student, but the dependent must have received an honorable discharge. This coverage extension is not a federal requirement, allowing individual Blue Cross organizations within a state to determine eligibility on this issue.
This extended coverage under the Affordable Care Act generally is tax-free to the employee purchasing the coverage, according to the IRS. The coverage can be paid with pre-tax contributions as part of an employer’s cafeteria plan. The benefit also applies to retiree plans and self-employed workers who qualify for the self-employed health insurance deduction, according to the IRS. This means the cost of covering a dependent under Blue Cross is tax-deductible.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois: Young Adult Dependent Coverage Law
- Young Adults and the Affordable Care Act: Preventing Coverage Gaps, Lowering Administrative Costs and Eliminating Burdens on Businesses and Families
- National Conference of State Legislatures: Covering Young Adults Through Their Parent's or Guardian's Health Policy