Are you thinking of adding dependents to your health policy and wondering how to go about it? First you have to look at the kind of policy you have.

Individual health plan

This is a health plan that covers only the individual subscriber. No other person is covered under this plan.

Family Health plan

Most family health plans acquired through the workplace may include dependents. However, it is important to clarify the term "dependent" with your health insurance provider or employer as this varies from one situation to another.

Typically, the term "dependents" will include children and spouses, sometimes domestic partners but rarely parents.

Some big companies have expanded the definition of dependent beyond the traditional definition.

Where dependents are covered, terms and conditions apply.


Typically, family health plans cover children until the age of 26 regardless of their status; whether students, single or married, employed or unemployed. Legally adopted children, step-children and foster children are also eligible.

Domestic Partner

This term refers to a person whom you are living with under a civil union but to whom you are not legally married. Whether or not these persons are recognised as dependents varies from state to state and from employer to employer.

If your employer does not cover domestic partners, you may find out if it is possible to add them at an extra fee. Group plans through the employer are generally cheaper and offer better coverage.

Remember that terms for domestic partners are different from those covering spouses. For example, the premium payments for your domestic partner are considered part of taxable income.


Insurance companies will need you to prove that your parent is dependent. For example, your parent would have lived with you for at least 12 months prior to the application.You should have provided for at least half of their support in the same year. They should also have no other insurance policy through their employer or Medicare in order to benefit from your coverage.

Where your dependents are not covered you have the option of taking a private health plan issued by private insurance companies. With these, you can negotiate the possibility of adding a rider to include your dependent.

The type of dependent you can add to your health insurance policy will depend on the type of health insurance you have, your employer's terms and your state's regulations.

Your healthcare services are important. Insurance can help you bear the burden, but ultimately, make sure you are speaking with a care provider about the services that are critical to your health. They may be able to help you find affordable ways to manage your care.