Health Care Reform Website

Who Counts as a Dependent?

For purposes of the Employer Mandate only, the term dependent means an employee’s biological and adopted children.  Dependent does not include the spouse of an employee or the employee’s stepchildren or foster children.

Also, unlike the separate Affordable Care Act provision mandating coverage for eligible adult children, which requires coverage until the child reaches age 26, the offer of coverage for purposes of the Employer Mandate must extend through the end of the calendar month in which the child turns age 26.

Additional Information

Terminating Coverage of Dependents at Age 26
     This Briefing addresses a common question asked by employers offering dependent coverage – are required to offer coverage until the end of the month in which a dependent turns 26 or can they terminate coverage on the dependent’s 26th birthday.


 Coverage of Dependents to Age 26