When you turn 26 you can apply for a Marketplace or Obamacare plan before your 26th birthday so that your new health insurance plan will start on the first day of the month when you turn 26.
Insurance coverage for adults under age 26 ends on your 26th birthday. After this you must find your own insurance plan and come off your parent’s plan. Given this, it is very important to get coverage that starts before you turn 26.
When you lose coverage on your 26th birthday, you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). This lets you enroll in a health plan any time of the year which means you do not have to wait until Open Enrollment in November.
You may also qualify for premium tax credits and other savings based on your income if it is less than $45,000 (or $865 per week).
Your Special Enrollment Period ends 2 month after you turn 26. So it is important to shop for plans early so you do not miss your chance to get insurance.
If you enroll before your 26th birthday, coverage can start as soon the first day of the month you lose coverage on your parent’s health insurance plan. If you enroll during the 60 days after their birthday, coverage will start the first day of the month after you pick your new plan.
If you don’t enroll in health coverage within 60 days of their birthday, you will not be able to get coverage until the next Open Enrollment period in November. If your birthday is in January and you miss your 2 month SEP and try to enroll in a new plan in April it is too late and you will have to wait until November to get covered. This means you will go the rest of year WITHOUT insurance.