Can You Put Someone on Your Health Insurance Who Is Not a Family Member?


One of the most difficult questions that human resources representatives have to answer is who can an employee cover on their health insurance. Once you get past the spouse and children, the laws are no longer as cut-and-dry as they used to be about who can and cannot be covered. In most cases, it depends on the laws of your state and who the state recognizes as a family member.


In most states, stepchildren do qualify as family members who can be covered under a family’s health insurance plan. This applies regardless as to whether or not the stepfather has adopted the children or not.

If a man gets a woman pregnant but does not marry her or live with her, then the man can still cover his child on his health insurance. This is a commonly held practice in all of the 50 states.

Common Law Marriage

If you live in a state that recognizes common law marriage and your marriage qualifies under the state guidelines, then you should be able to legally cover your common law spouse on your health insurance. If your state does not recognize common law relationships, then you probably won’t be able to cover your partner.

The same situation arises for same-sex unions. If same-sex unions are legal and recognized in your state, then you should be able to cover your spouse under your health insurance. If your state used to recognize same-sex unions but no longer does, then you may be out of luck.

If you lived in a state that recognized common law marriages or same-sex unions and then moved to state that did not, then your relationship may no longer be legally binding and you cannot claim your spouse on your insurance. As you can imagine, things can get extremely complicated in these situations.

Elderly Relatives

Most states will allow you to put your elderly parents or disabled older children on your health insurance policy. In some states, this decision is left up to the health insurance carriers themselves. This means that you may have to apply to have your elderly parent or older disabled child covered and hope your application is accepted.

Friends And Other Relatives

In every state in the country, it would be extremely difficult to have an aunt, uncle or friend placed on your health insurance policy. However, you might be able to get these relatives and friends added to your health insurance if you are a legal guardian to them and are responsible for their health care.

For the most part, insurance companies prefer to cover only your immediate family on your health insurance policy. But there are situations in which people outside of your immediate family could qualify to be covered by your health insurance plan.