How Does the Affordable Care Act Affect Families with Dependents?

Posted on: Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act in January of 2014 will affect many families in a variety of ways, and there continues to be a great deal of confusion and misinformation about the law. Setting aside the political differences on the subject, many people continue to wonder what it all means for them. If you are a parent with dependents, there are three basic facts which you really should know.

Children covered until age 26

Health care plans that offer coverage to their employees’ children are required to make coverage available until the adult child reaches the age of 26, even if the young adult no longer lives with his or her parents, is not a dependent on a parent’s tax return, or is no longer a student. Both married and unmarried dependents qualify for this coverage, although coverage of the dependent’s spouse or children is not required.

Spouses aren’t specifically covered

The ACA defines dependents as children, not spouses. Most health care law experts say this is not going to result in any significant alterations to employer provided insurance for families. A good health plan, covering all family members, is considered essential to finding and keeping good employees. Still, the law could end up leaving some spouses out of family plans, forcing them to buy insurance elsewhere. Should a spouse be dropped from an employer’s plan, the overwhelming percentage of those affected would be able to purchase coverage from a health insurance marketplace, with a government subsidy.

Dependents may be covered under two separate plans

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has specific rules for the determination of which plan would be the primary payer for benefits, and what (if any) contribution can be made by a secondary plan. As always, contacting your agent with any questions is highly advisable. 


Do you have questions about the Affordable Care Act? We have a call center, which is ready to help you navigate through the maze of complexities in the new world of health coverage.

Please call 1-877-214-2969. We’re ready to assist you.


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