As a health insurance member, am I liable for unpaid medical bills for a 23 year old dependant on my insurance?

My 23 year old son went to rehab and he is a dependant on my insurance. I did not request treatment for him and I did not sign any paperwork for him. So can they legally bill me and hold me liable for the unpaid bills of my 23 year old dependant because I am the member? I do not believe that in my insurance policy it is stated

that the member would be liable for the unpaid medical bills of a dependent on their insurance but am not 100% sure.

Asked on February 19, 2019 under Insurance Law, Washington


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

No you are not. Since your son is legally an adult, therefore he is responsible for his own debts and obligations. Your even as his parents, are not liable for his medical bills except and only to the extent that you co-signed for, guaranteed or otherwise agreed to pay them.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

No, so long as your son, who is an adult by age, is not considered legally incompent and you are not his legal guardian or conservator, he, not you, is responsible for any unpaid portion (unpaid by insurance, that is) portion of his medical bills, unless you guaranteed payment of them. Each adult is responsible for his/her own bills, even when on someone else's policy. 
IF the insurer accidently paid out when they should not, the insurer could look to recover the money from you, since you are the policy holder and are in a contract with the insurer. But you are not in a contract with the rehab center, so they have no grounds to hold you personally liable for any amounts not paid them.

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