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Can you include your parents on your health insurance in the US?  

Can you include your parents on your health insurance in the US

There can be several reasons for an individual to come to the US. Some enter the country to work, some to study, some for a brief stay, while some decide to live permanently. When parents come to the US to visit you, they must carry health insurance to protect them from unfortunate medical and travel events during their stay. If you are wondering if you can add your parents to your health insurance, you may be surprised to know that the entire process is complicated. Also, it depends on the policy.  

Adding parents to your coverage is one of the biggest obstacles because it needs a lot of research to determine if your situation allows coverage or not. Here are a few situations to make things more transparent for you.  

Situation 1: You are a US resident or a green card holder  

You can access the domestic plans when you are a US resident or a green card holder. If your parents are green card holders and over 65, you can check their eligibility for Medicare. If they meet the requirements, they can be under the Medicare program, which negates their possibility of being under your health insurance plan. Then, all you can do is help them financially to pay their premium.  

If your parents are below 65 and have a low income, they can apply for Medicaid. If they meet the criteria and eligibility requirements, they can enjoy a Medicaid plan, which makes them not choose your health insurance plan. If you buy a plan through, you may include parents on your policy only if you claim them as dependents on your tax return.  

Situation 2: You are in the US on a J1 visa  

If you are coming to the US on a J1 visa, your parents typically will still be visitors and cannot be on a J2 visa. Spouses or unmarried children under 21 years old can accompany a J-1 visa holder with the J-2 visa. .  You can buy separate visitor insurance for your parents’ visit to the US.   

Situation 3: You are in the US as a visitor  

If you come to the US for a leisure vacation, business trip, or study, you will be considered a visitor. You may stay here for a few weeks to a few months. In such cases, depending on the nature of work and duration, you can buy student or visitor insurance plans. If your parents consider giving you a surprise visit within those months, they need to buy separate insurance policies. They cannot be included in your policy.  

What is the solution?  

The simplest solution one can think of is buying separate plans for your parents. If your parents are green card holders they can enroll in Obamacare and government-sponsored insurance plans if eligible.   They can buy domestic plans from or sign up directly with the insurance company during the open enrollment. But, again, there are certain requirements that must be met to qualify to buy the domestic plans.  

If your parents are visitors to the US or immigrants or waiting for their green cards, they can buy insurance plans from a US insurance company. These plans are like domestic plans and will offer coverage during the temporary period. Typically, these plans cover medical expenses for new illnesses or injuries, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, urgent care, dental, acute onset of pre-existing diseases, and more.  

If you are also a visitor to the US and buying a health insurance policy for a temporary stay, you cannot add your parents to your plan. It would be best if you purchased a separate plan for your parents when they visit. You may be struggling initially to understand the insurance terms and conditions because every plan has its own. Consulting an insurance expert is suggested. 

Pallavi Sadekar

Pallavi Sadekar

Travel Insurance Expert

Pallavi Sadekar is a seasoned insurance professional with over 17 years of experience in the industry. As the Head of Operations at Visitor Guard®, she brings a wealth of expertise to the field. With a profound understanding of insurance, Pallavi has consistently demonstrated her commitment to helping clients make informed decisions about their coverage.

Pallavi’s insights and advice has earned her recognition in esteemed publications, including Forbes, USA Today, and various online platforms. Her contributions to these outlets have solidified her reputation as a trusted authority in the insurance domain. Whether it’s navigating the complexities of visitor insurance, finding the right coverage for clients, or understanding the intricacies of visitor health insurance, Pallavi’s in-depth knowledge allows her to offer practical and informed guidance to her clients.


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