Too Young for Medicare? Consider These Health Insurance Plans

WRITTEN BY: Craig Sturgill


Are you in need of excellent health insurance coverage but still too young for Medicare? You’re in luck if you’re not old enough to receive Medicare but old enough to need good health coverage. Several options are available to ensure you get the coverage you deserve. Below we’ll look at various health insurance options that may suit you well.

If under 26, you can stay on your parent’s plan

Depending on your situation, you can stay on your parent’s plan until age 26 if their insurance covers dependents. Suppose you qualify and your parent has a health plan through their employer. They can add you during their insurance plan’s annual Open Enrollment or Special Enrollment Period.

And suppose your parent has an insurance policy through the Marketplace. In that case, they can add you to their insurance application when they enroll in a new plan or during the annual Open Enrollment or Special Enrollment Period. While most programs will drop you once December 31 hits the year you turn 26, some policies and states may have varying rules.

So, it’s best to have your parents double-check their plan before adding you so that everyone will know what to expect. Some exceptions could disqualify you from your parent’s insurance plan, even under 26 years old. Some of those exceptions include the following:

  • If you have dependents of your own
  • If you’re married
  • If you aren’t a tax dependent on your parents’ taxes
  • If you turn down an insurance offer from your job’s insurance coverage

Purchase an insurance policy

If you’re too old to go on your parent’s plan, have dependents, or are married, you can choose to buy your insurance plan. You can check out the Health Insurance Marketplace (ACA or the Affordable Care Act) on and find various programs priced according to your income.

You can start the process by comply completing an application right online. Marketplace plans carry several benefits for people who need health coverage. All policies on the Marketplace cover specific preventative services in full, leaving you with no out-of-pocket costs for various health services. Many plans offer significantly reduced prescription costs as well.

Every plan through the Marketplace will cover preventive services, emergency health care, hospitalization costs, lab work, maternity care, and prescription drug coverage. In addition to the most common forms of health coverage, you can even purchase vision and dental coverage.

In school? Get a school health insurance plan

Many universities and colleges make their students carry some health coverage. Many college students may not qualify to be on their parent’s plan. Hence, schools often offer a sponsored health plan directly through the school.

The insurance plan helps cover any health issues while on school grounds. In many cases, specific schools may require you to have some form of health insurance. If you deny a school-sponsored insurance plan, you may need to provide proof of purchase of your plan, whether through the Marketplace or an employer.

Medicaid coverage

Medicaid may be an option for low-income adults who are too young for Medicare but still need affordable health insurance. It offers low-cost and, in many cases, no-cost insurance to those who meet eligibility requirements. Each state within the United States has a Medicaid program.

When you apply for Medicaid, they’ll look into several factors when providing coverage. For example, suppose your income is low enough, and you’re pregnant or have young children at home. In that case, you may qualify for Medicaid coverage.

You must reside in the same state where you apply for Medicaid and meet income requirements that fall at or below the Federal Poverty Guidelines, which is $20,385 for an individual or $34,545 for a family of three. There are specific situations where an adult may qualify for Medicaid without meeting the income requirements. These situations include:

  • Severe disability
  • Blindness
  • Young adults who are former foster children
  • Young adults who receive Social Security Income (SSI)

You can learn more about health insurance through this program by visiting your state’s specific Medicaid website. In most states, you’ll be able to apply directly online.

What are some of the benefits of young people having health insurance?

Although you may be healthy and young, health insurance is still incredibly beneficial. Injuries, accidents, and severe illness can creep up anytime, despite your age.

Health insurance is here to protect you and help you avoid going bankrupt from unexpected medical bills. For example, if you were to break a bone while vacationing, you could pay thousands of dollars more to treat that broken bone than if you were to have health coverage.

With regular preventative health care and health insurance, you could keep yourself far healthier for longer. So, when you’re an older adult, you may have fewer medical bills because you’ve stayed on top of your health for so long. Insurance is a beneficial tool to have, young or old!

Employment health coverage

Many employers provide health coverage for employees. This is the most common form of obtaining health insurance for young American adults. Most employees who receive employer-sponsored health coverage work for larger companies.

Even if your employer doesn’t provide health insurance, your spouse’s employer may. If this is the case for you and your spouse, you could be added to your spouse’s employer’s plan, and in fact, it could save you money as opposed to both of you having individual plans.

COBRA coverage

Another health insurance option for adults too young for Medicare who lose employer-sponsored health benefits is COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). COBRA helps you continue your group health insurance coverage, even after unemployment.

Like other health insurance forms, COBRA helps cover hospitalization, prescription medications, outpatient care, and even vision and dental benefits. You may qualify for COBRA coverage if you’ve had the following happen:

  • You retire, lose your job or your work hours are reduced to part-time hours
  • You suffer a severe disability and can no longer work as many hours
  • You become eligible for Social Security Disability due to a disability
  • You or your spouse lose employer coverage because of divorce
  • ETC.

COBRA will cover you anywhere from 18 to 36 months, depending on why you lost employer-sponsored health insurance coverage.


Why is it important to have health coverage at a young age?

Health insurance coverage is essential at any age. Illness and injuries can strike anytime, and don’t discriminate against age.

Something as simple as a stay in the hospital for a night could cost you around $10,000 without insurance. That’s a ton of money to come up with, and with insurance, you wouldn’t have to come up with such an astronomical amount for such a short stay.

Does age matter with health insurance?

Age matters with health insurance. The older you get, the more expensive your healthcare gets. So, the younger you are when you get insurance, the less your costs will be. This is because premiums and rates increase when you age more at risk for poor health.

How young can you be to qualify for Medicare?

In most cases, you must be 65 or older to be eligible for Medicare coverage. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Young adults with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or specific disabilities may be eligible for Medicare before 65.

What is the most common age for people to get health insurance?

Most people get health insurance between the ages of 26 and 34. However, getting health coverage at a young age is best when your health is still in good shape. The ideal time to purchase health insurance is between 18 and 25.

Get help with choosing health insurance today

With so many insurance options, it’s easy to understand why many get confused about health insurance. Compare rates for health insurance options by filling out our online request form. You can get rates for the top insurance carriers in your area or even connect with a licensed insurance agent to answer any questions.

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