If we provide insurance for an adult child, are we responsible for expenses not covered by insurance if we donot sign as responsible party?

My husband’s daughter from a previous marriage was emancipated by the state of OH at age 18. He no longer is required to provide health insurance. If he does so voluntarily, and does not sign as responsible party at the time of treatment, is he liable for any unreimbursed fees? Even if he is not liable, what are the chances that a health care provider might turn over an account to a collection agency with his name on it?

Asked on September 9, 2010 under Insurance Law, Indiana


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Every doctor in the United States has (absent very limited circumstances) the patient sign a form wherein that patient (not the primary on the insurance) agrees to pay for medical services not covered by the medical insurance.  The same usually goes for dental insurance, as well.  Since your husband is the primary and he is considering having his daughter as a secondary or another dependent, you need to find out first of all if this is even possible with the type of health insurance he had available.  If this is through his employer, the daughter may not necessarily be covered, especially if she is over 18 and not living with you.  If she cannot be added as a dependent, then your question is moot.  If she can be covered, she has to sign and he cannot be held responsible for any payments outside of covered co-pays and the like.  If he is uncertain, he should ask his insurance carrier to send him a certified letter to that effect.  Further, he can always inquire with Indiana's Insurance Department for any rulings and regulations on this matter.

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