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Tags: insurance | options | adult | children | covid 19 | job | losses

3 Insurance Options for Your Adult Children Amid COVID-19 Job Losses

3 Insurance Options for Your Adult Children Amid COVID-19 Job Losses
(James Blinn/Dreamstime)

Maxime Rieman By Tuesday, 05 May 2020 03:56 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The economy was in rapid-growth mode until the sudden emergence of the coronavirus pandemic.

Within just the first quarter of 2020, the unemployment rate went from around 3.5% in February to an estimated 13% in April — with more job losses predicted into the summer and fall.

For the most vulnerable workers, many of whom are younger adults with limited job experience and very little savings, these job losses may also result in the loss of necessary health insurance.

Parents with adult children can serve as a major safety net for their adult children, even if those children have aged out.

Job Losses and Insurance Needs

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on jobs. Stay-at-home orders and the closures of nonessential businesses left about 22 million Americans unemployed by mid-April. The Federal Reserve predicts the unemployment rate may soon hit 32%, meaning almost every American will either be unemployed or know someone who is.

More than 9 million Americans lost their employer-sponsored health care coverage by mid-April. But those who plan to purchase health insurance through the marketplace may not be able to afford coverage without a steady income. This puts older adults in a stronger position to help their children find and assess health insurance coverage and weather the financial impacts of the coronavirus.

Parents' Options to Help Uninsured Adult Children

Although Americans of every age are facing unemployment, older Americans may have more financial footing to brave the storm. If you have adult children facing unemployment, there are several ways you can offer help:

  1. Gift or loan your adult children money to pay for their own health insurance.
  2. Add your adult children to your health insurance policy (age-dependent).
  3. Set up or use money from a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) to cover your child's medical expenses, as needed.

All of these options have limits. Additionally, it's important to consult a tax professional or your insurance provider before taking any of these steps.

Give Your Adult Children Money to Pay for Insurance

If you want an option with few roadblocks, you can simply give your adult children money to cover their own insurance costs. For 2020, you can give anyone up to $15,000 without incurring taxes.

Even if you haven't been impacted by unemployment, it's still important to keep an eye on your spending. You can give $15,000 to as many people as you want — but this move can easily drain your savings. Show your children how to find cost-effective health insurance. They should spend as little as possible until they're back on their feet.

Adding Adult Children to Your Health Insurance Policy

Under the Affordable Care Act, you may keep a child on your health insurance policy until the child is 26. If your child isn't covered already, you might be able to add them to your policy. Check your state rules, as some states have a higher age limit. In New York, for example, children can stay on a parent's health insurance policy until they reach age 30.

Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Savings Accounts

HSAs and FSAs both allow people to use pretax income for eligible medical expenses. If your child had one of these accounts, they may still be able to use the funds based on the account owner specifications.

If your child didn't have one of these accounts or lost eligibility, then you may be able to use your own HSA or FSA to cover their medical expenses. However, there are restrictions.

To start, answer these questions:

  • Did you claim your child as a dependent on your taxes last year?
  • If not, did your child still qualify as a dependent?

If the answer is "no," then you won't be able to use your FSA or HSA funds to cover their health care expenses. If your child meets dependent eligibility requirements this year, you may be able to claim them in 2021 when you file your 2020 taxes.

Helping Adult Children Weather the Storm

The world is facing an unprecedented health and economic crisis. If you have adult children, you're more likely to withstand the financial turmoil. Your adult children may lose work, but you can offer some relief by helping cover their medical expenses and insurance. It may seem like a small gesture, but during a pandemic, it could help save lives.

Maxime Rieman is Product Manager at ValuePenguin. Educating and assisting shoppers about financial products has been Rieman's focus, which led her to joining ValuePenguin, a consumer research and advice company based in New York. Previously, she was product marketing director at CoverWallet and launched the personal insurance team at NerdWallet.

© 2022 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

Parents with adult children can serve as a major safety net for their adult children, even if those children have aged out.
insurance, options, adult, children, covid 19, job, losses
Tuesday, 05 May 2020 03:56 PM
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