Which Dependents You Can Add To Your Group Health Insurance Policy

Open enrollment for employee health insurance plans begins in November. You may wish to add dependents to your current policy as you care for your loved ones. Here are the details about who you can add to your group health insurance policy.

  • Spouse

    Many group health insurance plans allow you to add your spouse to your plan during open enrollment or within 30 days after your marriage. You may also add a same-sex spouse if your state legalizes same-sex marriages and your plan allows this provision.

  • Dependent Children

    You may add biological children to your health insurance policy even if they don’t live with you. If you give birth to or adopt a child or if your child loses insurance coverage through Medicaid or CHIP, you have a 30-day window to add that dependent to your group health insurance plan.

  • Spouse’s Children

    You may add stepchildren to you health insurance plan if they’re under the age of 26. You may add them during open enrollment seasons or within 30 days of your marriage.

  • Grandchildren

    You may add a grandchild to your coverage if you have legal guardianship of that child and they reside with you. If a dependent child or dependent adult child on your current health insurance plan has a baby, you may also be able to add your grandchild to your policy. However, most states do not have this provision, so be sure to read your policy for details.

  • Dependent Parents

    Some health insurance plans do allow you to add dependent parents to your policy. However, the federal government doesn’t mandate this coverage, and it’s an uncommon practice.

  • Boyfriend/Girlfriend

    A small minority of group health insurance plans allow you to add a boyfriend or girlfriend to your policy. You may need to prove that you share a domestic partnership and have a history of living together.

  • Domestic Partner

    In some cases, you can add a domestic partner to your insurance policy. State, carrier and employer guidelines vary, so discuss your options with your HR department.

  • Separated or Divorced Spouse

    If you separate or divorce from your spouse, you typically cannot keep them on your health insurance policy. A separation or divorce does qualify your ex-spouse for COBRA benefits, though.
Paperwork Required to Add Dependents

To add a dependent to your health insurance policy, you may need to prove that they are legitimate dependents. Provide a marriage license, birth certificate and other documents that prove your dependent relationship.

This November, choose the health insurance plan that meets your needs. Add any dependents, too, as you provide health care coverage to your loved ones.
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