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Does Health Insurance for Children End at 21 or 26?

Kahn and Richardson - Tuesday, February 02, 2016

New York State Law provides that parents of a child under the age of 21 years are chargeable with the support of the child and, if of sufficient means or able to earn such means, shall be required to pay child support in a fair and reasonable sum as determined by the Court. A parent may also be ordered to maintain health insurance for a child until the age of 21 years as part of that support obligation.

The Affordable Care Act ("Obama Care") provides that a child may remain covered under a parent's health insurance benefit plan until the age of 26. Health insurers can no longer exclude a child from coverage before the age of 26, if the child meets certain requirements. In New York State, a child is allowed to remain under a parent's coverage until the age of 26 if the child is unmarried, ineligible for health insurance through his or her employment, and resides in New York State.

The availability of health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act to a child over 21 and under 26 does not change New York State Law that a parent can be ordered to provide coverage only until a child is 21. Thereafter, a parent may voluntarily provide such coverage. New York State Courts will also enforce agreements made by parents to provide health insurance to a child over the age of 21.

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