Q. I am covered by my employer’s health plan, but I’m not happy with it. My son is 21 and currently covered under my plan. While I realize that I am not eligible for Obamacare, I am curious if I can terminate my son’s policy so that he might be eligible.
A. Since the open enrollment period to sign up for coverage on the state marketplaces ended Feb. 15, in general people can’t enroll in a marketplace plan until next year’s open enrollment period rolls around.
If you drop your son from your employer plan, however, his loss of coverage could trigger a special enrollment period that allows him to sign up for a marketplace plan. Whether he’s entitled to a special enrollment period depends on whether his loss of coverage is considered voluntary, say officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
In general, voluntarily dropping employer-sponsored coverage doesn’t trigger a special enrollment period for individuals or their family members. But if you drop your son’s coverage on his behalf without his consent, his loss of coverage wouldn’t be considered voluntary and your son could qualify, according to CMS.
Whether he’ll be eligible for premium tax credits to make marketplace coverage more affordable is another matter, says Judith Solomon, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
If you claim him as your dependent, he generally won’t be eligible. If you don’t claim him as your dependent, he would have to qualify for subsidies based on his own income.