Health insurance is vital for your overall health and well-being. Without coverage, the cost of preventative and emergency healthcare can be exorbitant. If you have insurance coverage, however, the cost of healthcare can be significantly less expensive. But not everyone has access to insurance. If your brother or sister is uninsured and you are, you may be wondering if you can add him or her to your plan.
The good news is that adding your sibling to your health insurance is possible; however, the majority of providers will only allow extend coverage to siblings if certain circumstances apply.
Your Sibling Must be Your Legal Dependent
In order to add your brother or sister to your health insurance plan, he or she must be your legal dependent. In other words, your sibling must reside in your home and you must be his or her primary caretaker; he or she relies on you financially and you provide the care that your sibling needs to maintain a quality of life. For example, if your sister is disabled and you are her primary caretaker, you would be permitted to add her to your health insurance plan.
Meeting the Necessary Criteria
In order to certify that your brother or sister is dependent on you, both you and your sibling would need to meet qualifying criteria.
If you and your brother or sister meets the following criteria, you may be able to add him or her to your health insurance plan:
- Your sibling is not enrolled in school and is under the age of 19
- Your sibling is enrolled in school and is under the age of 24
- Your sibling suffers from a permanent disability
- He or she has been living with you for a period of 6 months or more and has been unable to provide at least half of the support that he or she requires
- Your brother or sister isn’t claimed on someone else’s taxes as a dependent
- His or her gross income must be lower than $4,050 a year
- You provide more than half of your brother’s or sister’s yearly income
- You claim your brother or sister as a dependent on your taxes
If you and your brother and sister meet all of the above-mentioned criteria, it may be possible to add your sibling to your health insurance plan. However, do make sure that you check with your provider, as not all companies will cover siblings, despite their status as a dependent. Furthermore, if your health insurance provider does allow you to add your sibling to your policy, you will likely have to do so during a specific enrollment period. If you should miss this period, you will have to wait until the following year to add your brother or sister to your plan.
To find out if you can add your sister to your health insurance policy, speak to a representative from your insurance company.
Whether your sister or brother can’t be added to your insurance policy because your provider will not permit it, or if you and your sibling to not meet the dependent criteria, there are other options available that may grant him coverage:
- Adoption. You can add your sibling to your health insurance plan if you legally adopt him or her. To do this, your brother or sister must be under the age of 18 and you will need to meet strict criteria.
- Guardianship. Legal guardianship is similar to adoption in that you will be legally responsible for your brother or sister until he or she is 18 years of age. In order obtain legal guardianship, your sibling will have to be under the age of 18 and you will also have to meet strict criteria.
If you are able to adopt or obtain guardianship of your brother or sister, legally, you will be allowed to add him or her to your health insurance policy. However, do make sure that you speak to your insurance provider, as again, there may be stipulations. For instance, there may be an enrollment period, which is the only time that you will be able to add your sibling to your policy.