By Michelle Andrews
Special To The Washington Post
As the October launch of the state health insurance marketplaces approaches, parents have many questions about covering their children, and not just on the new state exchanges.
Q: Why is it that the adult children of retired members of the military cannot stay on their parents' insurance? My husband served for 22 years in the Marine Corps. My adult children are still in college, but they have been dropped from our insurance, Tricare Prime.
A: The Affordable Care Act allows adult children to stay on their parents' health plan until they reach age 26 in most cases. But Tricare, the health plan for military service members, is governed by a different set of statutes, and the ACA's provisions that expand young-adult coverage don't apply to it.
Tricare allows dependent children to remain on their parents' plan until they turn 21, or until they turn 23 if they're full-time students who are supported financially by their parents, according to Austin Camacho, chief of the benefit information and outreach branch of Tricare Management Activity.
Once adult children are no longer eligible for regular Tricare, they can enroll in the Tricare Young Adult program, which provides coverage for children up to age 26 who are unmarried and don't have employer coverage available to them, Camacho says. Unlike regular Tricare, however, the young adult program is a premium-based plan that costs up to $180 per month.
Q: I am a divorced dad who has responsibility for maintaining my 15-year-old daughter's health insurance. It was easy when I was working and had a corporate health plan. Now that I am retired and in the Medicare program, I am looking for alternatives when the new exchanges open in October. Can I buy health insurance for just my underage daughter on these new exchanges?