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Which Parents’ Health Insurance Should the Children Be On?

by admin on November 15, 2010


Children need health insurance. It covers the cost of their regular checkups as well as the cost of the medications and emergency care they may need growing up. In some cases, families have a choice between two different health insurance plans and must decide which one the child should be added to. This may be because of a divorce or it may simply be that each parent has decided to get their own health insurance through their employers rather than being on a single plan together. Whatever the case, a decision about the child’s health insurance must be made. Here are some things to consider as you make this decision:

Is a family plan an option?

First you should consider whether the parents want to combine plans and have a family plan instead. For example, parents who are having a first child may have always kept their own separate health insurance but now may decide to put everyone on a family plan under one or the other parent. This isn’t a necessary action but is something to look into as you weigh your options.

Which plan offers the best coverage for the child?

If you are going to keep separate plans, you want to compare the plan options side by side to see which one is the best one for your child. This involves looking at the benefits and costs of the plan just like when you purchase your own health insurance. For example, you’ll look at what’s covered, which doctors are available under the plan, what the deductible is, what your co-pays will be, etc. Compare the plans with respect to all of these things to determine which plan is best.

Which parent has the more stable job situation?

Choosing the best plan for your child isn’t necessarily as simplistic as choosing the best plan for yourself. That’s because in addition to weighing the pros and cons of each plan, you need to think about the long-term viability of the plan. As an individual, you are typically willing to take some risks to get the best plan for you for now regardless of what may happen with your job in the future. You may not want to take that same risk with your child’s health insurance. For that reason, you should consider whether you or your spouse has the more stable employment situation to guarantee that the coverage will last over time. If one of you has an unstable job or may be likely to quit in the relatively near future then putting the child on the other’s plan may make more sense even if that plan isn’t comparatively the better of the two.

What are your opinions on paying for your child’s health care after they are 18?

Recent health care reform makes it possible for children to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until the ripe old age of 26. However, some parents want their children to start paying for their own portion of the costs after they turn 18. It may be worth discussing this issue with your spouse because if you have different opinions on the issue then it can affect the plan you’d prefer for your child to be added to now.

Are there any restrictions on when the child can be added?

Health insurance plans may have slightly different rules about when a child can be added to the plan especially if you’re considering adding an older child to a plan. If the start date for coverage on your plan is many months away and the start date on your spouse’s plan is immediate then you may want to consider the issue.

Do you need to work with a professional?

If you are unsure of which plan to select then you may want to work with a health insurance broker to get assistance in making a decision. If you’re dealing with a situation that involves divorce then you may want to get attorneys involved to not only select the best option for the children but to get in writing what the details of that option will be.

Joe writes about insurance advice and tips on how to find the best insurance quotes at

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