Health Insurance Through The Ages

Throughout your lifetime you will hopefully have several different types of health insurance. For some people, it may be helpful to see a timeline of how this coverage may change as they get older. While every life is different, with different challenges and benefits, the general public will likely have something resembling the following health insurance timeline.


As a new baby, you were covered by your parent's insurance, which may have been supplemented by some form of CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program). This government program makes sure that children have enough insurance to be properly taken care of, even if parents cannot provide all that a child needs. This program could have covered you until you were 19 years of age. 

Young Adults

Young adulthood is an interesting time of life. Most people start working outside of the home, potentially giving them access to employer-provided health insurance programs. A lot of teens do not want to pay for health insurance yet, so they stay on their parent's insurance until they are 26 years of age. Once they have turned 26, most young adults scramble to get on the cheapest plan in order to avoid the penalty on their taxes. 


Adulthood is expensive and challenging. Hopefully, you and your family will be able to get good insurance from your work, though this is not an option for many Americans. Providing health insurance for a family can be a real struggle, so many people turn to Medicaid for the necessary support. Medicaid is a government agency that provides health insurance to those who fall under a certain income bracket (dependent on how many people are in the household), or the mentally handicapped. 

Late Adulthood

Once you are able to retire, you will lose your employer offered health insurance. This is one reason that people sign up for medicare. If you are going to sign up you need to do so within 6 months of turning 65, or you may get penalties. There are many different Medicare plans which you should look at in order to make sure you are getting what you need. 

In conclusion, if you are not thrilled with how your health insurance is working for you currently, you may want to start working towards the next level of insurance you will need. For example, if as a young adult, your parents are not able to cover you completely, you may want to get a job that offers the benefits you need. If you need help getting health insurance, there are many government agencies who work to help everyone get coverage. Contact the Department of Human Services nearest you for more information.