Whatis a parent’s responsibility regarding unreimbursed medical expenses for their adult “children”?

UPDATED: Feb 24, 2011

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Whatis a parent’s responsibility regarding unreimbursed medical expenses for their adult “children”?

I have medical coverage for my children (over 18) that live out of state. However I do not want to pay the unreimbursed medical bills that they acquire. Am I liable for the unreimbursed amounts just because it’s my health insurance? I never signed any paper just gave them my insurance card information.

Asked on February 24, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you provide your children's health insurance, and furthermore if you provided your insurance card information, then you are responsible for the unreimbursed portion of their medical expenses. By providing the card information, you were representing to the medical care provider(s) that you were responsible and would pay any costs, and they are legally entitled to rely on that representation.There's no need to sign any separate paper after you gave the provider the card.

You legally can't have it both ways: you can't provide your children's health insurance and implicitly say to health care providers, "Provide them medical service; it will be paid for," then try to disclaim liability on the grounds your children are over 18. If you don't want to be responsible for their health care costs, don't provide their insurance.

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