Ask Farnoosh: Kicked off my parents' health insurance. What are my options?

Ask FarnooshTony tweets: "I just turned 26 and therefore I'm off my parents insurance. What is the best option for me?  Do I need insurance?"

Yes, you absolutely should have insurance. One might assume that being young means you can fight off any ailments or dodge major health issues.  But without proper medical insurance, you risk putting both your health and finances in jeopardy. Why take any chances?

If you’re no longer eligible for your parents' insurance plan and not insured through an employer, consider these three other health care options that may be available to you.   

Individual Plan
Online brokerage sites like and make it easy to anonymously get quotes and compare the plans that are best suited for your needs. If you have questions – and you probably will – give one of their live agents a call. Or consult with an insurance agent recommended by coworkers, friends and family. You can check out estimates for a 30-year-old single male by state here.

You can continue to buy your parents' plan at your own expense for up to 36 months through COBRA, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. This can be pretty pricey though, as you’ll be paying the full cost of the plan plus usually a 2% administrative fee. But if you can afford it, you’ll want to act quickly since you have up to 60 days to sign up after falling off your parents’ plan. 

Also See: Can I Trade My COBRA for a Marketplace Health Plan?

Affordable Care Act
Finally, open enrollment has begun with the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” and you can now compare and shop for health coverage in your individual state’s marketplace. Plans purchased by the end of the year start in January 2014.  The rollout has had a rough start and the dedicated website,, is still ironing out its glitches, so check back periodically to apply online. President Obama has set a deadline to fix the site’s problems by the end of November and the deadline for enrollment has been extended to March 31, 2014. Each state has different provisions. 

Also See: Obamacare’s Youth Problem


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