Can Elderly Parents Be Claimed as Dependents?

Healthcare coverage has been an unsure and confusing issue for both young and elderly citizens over the past decade, with the potential to only become more complicated as a new president takes office. While laws have been amended throughout President Obama’s term to now allow young adults to remain covered under their parents insurance until they are 26 years old, there are no hard rules regarding whether parents can qualify under their adult childrens’ health insurance plans.


Narrow Exceptions To Covering Parents

There are limited situations in which an adult child could get their elderly or ailing parent covered under their company’s insurance provider, however, they must meet a number of requirements. Parents can be covered under their child’s insurance plan if they can qualify as a dependent and meet specific criteria. Dependents traditionally have been considered those children under the age of 26 who do not maintain coverage, spouses or domestic partners, however, parents can qualify generally if they meet the IRS definition of dependent upon their adult child.

To qualify as dependent, the parent must be over the age of 65 years old and be listed as a dependent according to your IRS filing. The child must have been provided with over half of the parent’s lodging, food and transportation costs and make less than $3,700 a year.

There are additional qualifications that one must meet including whether the insurance coverage is listed as a family plan or an individual plan. A family plan may allow an elderly parent to be added to insurance if they are dependent and you can exemplify that they live with you and/or depend on you for the items listed above. The reasoning for the strict protocol is that government programs have allocated funds for elderly adults to maintain health care insurance through programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

However, with all the of the changes that have ensued in the past few years and also weeks, there is reason for concern regarding proper coverage. Elderly patients cannot afford frequent coverage changes, thus, exploring the option of maintaining coverage through an adult child if the elder qualifies may give families a sense of ease that their loved one is taken care of, without the fear of being cut off specific programs.

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