Young Adults and Cancer: Health Insurance

Here is what you need to know about health insurance as a young adult with cancer:

  • Many adults are uninsured, but you still have options.
  • Under the Affordable Care Act, young adults under 26 can stay on their parents’ insurance plan if they cannot get insurance through their own jobs.
  • Young adults can buy insurance through private companies. Some insurance carriers may turn down people or charge them more if they have a pre-existing condition. A pre-existing condition is an already known medical issue.
  • Sometimes you can get health benefits through your job or your spouse’s job.
  • Colleges and universities often offer student health insurance at a lower cost than private companies.
    • Be sure to check the student healthcare plans for limits on coverage.
    • Some require that you keep going to class. This may not be possible with cancer.
  • Young adults can now purchase health care plans through the government-run HealthCare Marketplace at

  • Catastrophic plans are available via the Health Insurance Marketplace. Catastrophic plans are for individuals under the age of 30 or low-income individuals over 30 who receive a waiver. Catastrophic plans have very low premiums which may make them seem like a good option. However, for a young adult with cancer, a catastrophic plan is probably not the best option.  These plans have very high deductibles. Deductibles are the amount of healthcare costs a patient must pay out-of-pocket before the insurance plan starts paying for care. A young adult cancer survivor will likely have many medical expenses so in most cases, it would be better to have a health insurance plan with a low deductible.

If you have any questions about your health insurance options, please contact the Cancer Supportive Services Team at PearlPoint Cancer Support at



To learn more about young adult concerns, return to Young Adults and Cancer guidance page.