Health Insurance Issues

When you have children, it is very important that they have health coverage if at all possible. Even if those children are your step-children, you may still want to make sure they are included on your health insurance policy. However, if it is your step-children that you are trying to cover, you may have to jump through a few more hoops than you would if they were your natural children. You also must remember, that if they do not live with you full time, you may not be able to cover them under your plan.

The first step to covering your step children is to check the policies at your job.  This will let you know if it is even possible to cover them. If they live with you full time and are considered your dependents, you will likely be able to cover them. If the parent that you are with is not the custodial parent, chances are that they cannot be covered under your health insurance, even if the custodial parent refuses to provide health insurance for them, or threatens you with lawsuits and other litigation if you don’t cover the children.  Your employee handbook will contain your company’s policies regarding this issue, so you can refer to that at any time. Joint custody may be a messy issue as well, because you never know if you’re going to be able to claim them on your taxes, and that is often the determining factor in eligibility.

If you have determined that your step children are eligible to be on your health insurance, proceed to step two. If your step children live with you, and you are able to claim them on your taxes, they are probably eligible to be on your health insurance. When this is the case, you pretty much just follow the same policies that you would to get your own children on your health insurance.  Provide social security numbers and birth certificates, and in the case of step children, you may also need to provide legal documents stating that your spouse is the primary custodial parent. 

If you follow these steps, most companies will put your step-children on your health insurance just the same as if they were your own children. There are a few that won’t, and you will have to consult your own company’s employee and benefits manual for the exact policies of your company.