Turning 26 and Health Insurance

Did you know that turning 26 is a qualifying event for accessing affordable health insurance outside of an open enrollment period? Children can remain on a parent’s health insurance plan until they turn 26. Upon turning 26, individuals need to secure health insurance independent of their parent’s health insurance plans.

Plan Two Months Ahead

To avoid interruption in health care coverage, Fishing Partnership recommends that you contact a Navigator two months in advance of your son or daughter’s 26th birthday.

There are several factors that can be hurdles for young adults to sign up for health insurance. As a result, nearly 20% of young adults are uninsured. Some of the obstacles young adults face include:

  • Premium costs that can be a financial deterrent.
  • Having to find or change your primary care physician.
  • Understanding different programs and plan options and knowing which one is best for your needs.

Being in our line of work, you know the constant risk for injury is always present. Whether it be something simple as a hard slip on deck or adverse as an arm caught in the winch, an ER visit doesn’t come cheap and could take away an entire season’s earnings. Having insurance gives you the safety net you need to protect both your body and bank. Peace of mind comes at a small price; years of debt can occur in the snap of a finger.

Ben Parkington

Wellfleet Fisherman


Even Young Healthy Adults Need Insurance

Fishing Partnership Navigators can assist any Massachusetts resident with signing up for affordable health insurance. Navigators live in the Massachusetts communities Fishing Partnership serves and understand the challenges young adults face. If you are age 26 and need to get your own health insurance plan, here are some things to consider:

  1. Living in Massachusetts without health insurance can be costly. The state mandates that all residents are required to have health insurance coverage for at least nine full months out of the year or otherwise are assessed a penalty.
  2. Going without health insurance coverage can lead to expensive medical bills. Injuries and illnesses happen and are difficult to anticipate. If you find yourself in the emergency room without health care coverage, the costs can be well into the thousands of dollars. Most young adults are not financially prepared for these types of emergencies which can quickly put them into debt.
  3. Preventative care is crucial to maintaining good health. All MassHealth and Health Connector plans cover basic preventative care. This includes yearly physicals with a primary care physician, annual OB/GYN exams, mammograms, colonoscopies, and other procedures and tests depending on the individual’s age or need. A full list of covered preventative care services can be found here.
  4. Did you know mental and behavioral health services are included in MassHealth and Health Connector plans? This is good news. Coverage copays can vary depending on the health insurance plan you choose.


About the Massachusetts Health Connector

The MA Health Connector is a marketplace for health and dental insurance plans available in Massachusetts. Residents can apply for assistance paying for health insurance coverage through a subsidized application process. This can be a great option for those who work in the commercial fishing industry because your insurance may not be obtained through an employer, and you also may have fluctuating income throughout the year.


How Fishing Partnership Helps Young Fishermen

To ease the process for beginning the application, Fishing Partnership developed a Health Insurance Checklist and a Qualifying Life Event Checklist with the information required. A Fishing Partnership Navigator can help you prepare your application, walking you through step by step.

If you are a young adult without health insurance, or about to turn 26 in the year ahead, we encourage you to reach out to a Fishing Partnership Navigator today. Parents of a child about to turn 26 can reach out and help facilitate the process. Fishing Partnership can assist any MA resident access affordable health insurance and assist with any of the following tasks:

  • Review your options and estimate the monthly cost for the best health plan for your needs.
  • Assist you with completing the application.
  • Help with follow-up documentation.
  • Find a primary care doctor, specialist, or mental health provider.

Request Services

Are you or your spouse a fisherman? Do you come from a fishing family? Or, are you a shoreline worker that lives in a coastal community [that's anyone that has a job that supports fishermen getting their product to market and includes boat mechanics, fish cutters and lumpers to name a few]? We're here to help. Complete the Request for Services form and we'll answer your call.

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