Role of Dependents in Insurance

Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

In this lesson, you'll learn just who is a qualified dependent on a policy holder's health insurance plan. You'll also learn what benefits the qualified dependents can expect to receive.

Health Insurance

With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or just ACA), everyone is required to get health insurance. Health insurance is insurance that helps pay for your medical expenses. For those whose employers offer a group health insurance plan, it means signing up for that plan. For others, it means purchasing a health insurance plan individually or through the healthcare marketplace ( Others might even qualify for a health insurance plan provided by state agencies. With medical and hospital expenses being so high, having health insurance is one way to make getting good health care more affordable.

Health care is expensive
health insurance dependents


One good thing about health insurance plans is that if you have qualified dependents that need health insurance, you can provide them with coverage under your plan. So, who are qualified dependents? Here's a list.

  • Legal spouse
  • Children under 26

Some employers and some health insurance plans do allow domestic partners to get health insurance as a qualifying dependent as long as they fill out an affidavit of domestic partnership to show that they are in a committed relationship and have no plans of ever leaving. Domestic partners include both same and opposite sex partners. The affidavit is there so that roommates don't take advantage of someone else's health insurance plan.

Adult children under 26 do not necessarily have to be living at home to receive the benefits as a qualified dependent. They don't have to be single either. They can be married, have children, and even have their own job. As long as they are under 26, they are eligible to remain on your health insurance plan even if they turn down an insurance plan from their employer. You also don't have to claim them as a tax dependent for them to be a qualifying dependent for health insurance purposes.

Dependent Benefits

So, what benefits do qualifying dependents receive? By law, they are required to receive the same services as the primary insurance holder. So, if you are fully covered for emergency care, then your dependents are too.

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