Health Insurance for Young Adults

Cancer patients and survivors face special health care needs. In most states, children become legal adults at age 18 and must make decisions regarding health insurance.

Cancer patients and survivors face special health care needs.

Cancer patients and survivors face special health care needs.

Cancer Survivor Rights to Coverage

Federal law, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), protects cancer patients and survivors by establishing insurance companies cannot:

  • Deny coverage to an individual due to a pre-existing condition, a health condition prior to enrolling in coverage.
  • Charge an individual with a pre-existing condition more than an individual without a pre-existing condition.
  • Limit coverage benefits for an individual with a pre-existing condition.
  • Refuse to cover treatment for a pre-existing condition.
  • Place a limit on how much they will cover in one year.
  • Place a limit on how much they will cover in an individual’s lifetime.

Note: some grandfathered health plans limit some rights and protections mentioned above.

Coverage Options

At age 18, individuals have one or more of the following options for securing health insurance coverage:

  • Staying on a parent’s health insurance plan until the age of 26
  • Enrolling in a student health insurance plan offered by a college
  • Enrolling in a health plan offered through an employer
  • Purchasing a health insurance plan through the state or federal marketplace, directly through a health insurance company, or through an insurance broker
  • Securing public health insurance coverage through Medicaid


Reviewed: July 2020