Do children fall off my insurance policy on the day of their 26th birthday? How do they avoid a lapse in coverage?

Under the Affordable Care Act, children and step children can stay on their parent’s insurance policies until their 26th birthday, provided the parent’s plan allows dependent coverage. Retiree insurance plans, for example, are not required to extend coverage to dependents. Children can be covered by the parent’s insurance plans even if they are married, do not live with the parent or are not financially dependent on the parent. They can also be covered even if they are eligible to enroll in their own employer’s plan, with some temporary exceptions in “grandfathered” plans until 2014.

Some insurance plans extend coverage through the end of the month the child turns 26, or until the end of the billing cycle or calendar year. Check with your insurer to determine when the policy will lapse.

A child turning 26 after January 1, 2014 can avoid a lapse in coverage by enrolling in their own employer’s plan. if eligible, during open enrollment, usually between October 1 and December 31, 2013,  or they can purchase an insurance policy through the health insurance marketplace, which opens October 1, 2013.