YOU ASK:

Can my parents be covered under my company health insurance?

WE ANSWER:

Sadly, it's rare to find company health insurance that covers the parents. The usual case is that the parents are the ones that have the family health insurance that will also cover the children. So, your health insurance will usually cover your spouse and children, and not your parents.

However, we have to accept that as children, it will fall on us to help care for our parents and to ensure that they have the healthcare that they need. Before the healthcare reform bill, we have to admit that it has grown increasingly harder to find insurance for our aging parents.

The good news is that with the health care reform bill, it is easier to get insurance for seniors.  The bill has really made big strides in improving access not just to insurance but to quality health care as well. One excellent way to get insurance for your parents would be through Medicare, which covers eligible senior citizens.

You should also:

  • Consider long-term care insurance. This will help finance the need for nursing or home health care, which can turn out to be pretty expensive. We recommend that you act as soon as you can, since this coverage will be more expensive as your parents get older.
  • Check if your parents have Medigap. If your parents are eligible for Medicare, they can be covered with Medigap, which provides additional insurance coverage. If your parents don't have Medigap, it will be useful to get this coverage for them, as you will be able to claim even for some items that are not covered by Medicare.
  • Compare Medicaid and Medicare. Although they are named similarly and are both federal government-sponsored insurance programs, they are different. Medicaid provides coverage for those with low incomes. It usually covers prescription medications and bills for nursing homes but also requires seniors to "spend-down", that is, to dispose of their assets so that they can be eligible. Meanwhile, Medicare will pay for most medical expenses, including doctor's fees and other services, but will not pay for prescription drugs.
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