Health insurance is a precious commodity, and adding it to your family members’ health care plan could be crucial for your health as well as your wallet. If you are planning on purchasing a family health plan to cover your dependents, it’s important to be sure that you are aware of their eligibility for joining your family’s health insurance plan before making the final purchase.
When you buy a health insurance plan for yourself, you may be able to obtain coverage that covers your dependents; similarly, if you are an employer covering your workers, you may be able to offer coverage for any dependents that they have. This means if your family was covered before under an employer plan, and you are retiring, members of your household might have to sign up for an individual plan.
If one of you has an HSA-qualified plan (with no additional family members in the plan) and the other has a health insurance plan that is not HSA-qualified, the contribution you make to your HSA would be limited to a single, individual amount.
If you are enrolled in UCs health savings program, you can begin, change, or increase contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA) at any time. In 2022, you may contribute up to $7,300 to a health savings account when you have family coverage through a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) that meets the HSA requirements.
If you have not enrolled in a qualifying health plan or provided documentation of other coverage for your children, your health insurance carrier must enroll you in the lowest-cost self-only family plan option in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield service-group benefit plans (enrollment code 112). Your employer will provide you with until the end of your pay period the pay period following the pay period you received your notice to enroll in an appropriate health plan or provide documentation of other coverage for your children.
If your coverage is through an employers group plan that provides benefits for children, you are given at least 30 days to enroll new dependents. Your plans insurer can approve continuing your children’s coverage without having to go to your employer’s office.
Typically, insurers will permit the addition of dependents to your plan during your policy’s open enrollment period. In some cases, you may be able to add a dependent to your plan at any time throughout the year, and the coverage will take effect immediately. Plans and issuers in the individual market, and employers, are required to offer dependent coverage to both married and nonmarried children. Health plans generally count spouses and children as dependents, but they do not usually count parents.
You may usually add your spouse and children to your health plan, but this is ultimately up to your employer or health plan. If employers offering coverage provide spouses with coverage, the two spouses may determine if having their plan makes more sense, or add one spouse to another employer’s plan.
For example, most employer-sponsored group health plans will happily accept the spouses of covered members, with significant discounts relative to the cost of single coverage. Most employer-sponsored insurers also offer family plans, which cover children and grown children in addition to spouses. If your company does not offer employer-sponsored plans, and you are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, individuals and families have the option to buy insurance policies directly from private insurers or through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Keep in mind, that if you or your spouse has access to employer-sponsored health insurance, but chooses to buy a plan of your own for family coverage through a Health Insurance Exchange, you probably do not qualify for an Obamacare subsidy.
If you discover your parent’s health insurance plan does not cover healthcare providers in the state you live in, you may also want to investigate signing up for coverage yourself. If you are interested in getting health insurance for your parents, check with their health plan to see if you can add them to the plan. If your health plan does not let you add your parents, you may want to sign them up for a separate health plan, either through the Marketplace or through Medicare (if they are age 65 or older).
If you buy a plan through the Marketplace, you can include a parent in the policy only if you claim the parent as a dependent on your tax return. If you expect to claim someone as a dependent on your taxes in the year that you want to buy insurance, then absolutely include him or her on the application. What you have to remember about adding someone to your coverage is if your spouse or children fit the requirements, you have to add them, even if they are not requiring health care and insurance.
Your spouse might not qualify for coverage if a couple’s divorce decree says that the spouse does not need to offer his or her health coverage. Since the understanding is that you may be able to add someone into your health plan to obtain their coverage, it remains an open question whether you may be paying directly for someone who is covered by your coverage that is not in your insurance plan. If you and your partner are not married but have assets together (such as a house) or you have children, one of you could pay for the insurance policy and name the other partner as a beneficiary.
Some individual health plans let unmarried couples on the same plan, with any legal dependents, if they are living together or a court has ordered one partner to cover the children, said Colleen King, chief executive officer of the Colleen King Insurance Agency in Los Angeles. In many cases, your insurer will let you bring virtually every member of the household that you may qualify for dependent coverage.
Most state and private insurance providers will allow you to add certain qualified family members to your policy. It is important to note that Medicare, Medigap, and Medicare Advantage plans are only available for individuals: Your spouse, partners, and any dependents cannot be covered under your Medicare plan.