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Health Care

Must We Pay Our Adult Son's Medical Bills?

Doctor With Stethoscope Health Care

Dear Insurance Adviser,

We have a 20-year-old son who does not live with us but is still covered under our health insurance. He has recently run up about $2,000 in medical bills that he cannot pay. Are we obligated to pay those bills?

-- Put-upon parent

Dear PUP, Your question is more of a legal issue than an insurance issue. What are the applicable laws in your state? What is the age of majority? In most cases, when your child is no longer considered a minor, you cannot be held responsible for his bills -- medical or otherwise.

If you're asking whether you're automatically financially responsible for your son's uncovered medical bills because he is on your policy, then the answer is no. The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, gives parents the right to continue having their adult children on their policy until age 26. But nothing in the health insurance reform law requires parents to be responsible for their adult children's uncovered medical bills.

So you're off the hook!

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