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Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.

Covering Child with 50% Custody?

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Question: If a person has 50% legal custody of a their child, can the child be covered by both parents that live in different states?

Answer: No. The child cannot be covered by both parents. The child should be covered by the parent who claims the child as dependent for tax purposes.


Mary — answer “Yes” — try to think beyond the words of the question to the underlying purpose.

They want information about both parents in a home — so question really means, “Are you the only parent living in the home?” (I have no idea why they didn’t frame it that way in the first place — but maybe there are reasons that they want to get at other information)

Although you are the biological parent, you are in the same position as a single parent who adopts: your child has a father, who may or may not be alive, but his legal rights and obligations have been cut off, presumably by the terms of the agreement he signed with the sperm bank.

The reason they are asking that question is that eligibility for subsidies and/or Medi-Cal depend on family or household income. So what they really want to know is simply whether the child has another parent living in the house.

I have a child as a single parent via donor insemination. There is a question that does not adequately cover this and so I cannot proceed in the application. The question is something like this: Does the child have a deceased parent, a parent living outside the home or adopted by a single parent? When I answer NO, I am told that I need to answer yes and enter additional information about the other parent. How can I deal with this?

Phil, your statement about which parent should purchase coverage is erroneous — the parents need to go by the the terms of their divorce decree or settlement agreement. There typically is a court order that specifies which parent is required to provide insurance, and that does not always correspond to which parent is allowed to claim the child as a dependent for tax purposes.

If there is a significant disparity between the earnings of each parent, or if one but not both parents are eligible for employer-provided insurance, it is very likely that the divorce terms would put the burden of providing insurance on the parent with the greater financial resources.

And there is nothing to prevent double insurance on the same person, though it doesn’t make much economic sense. But there are many circumstances where people have overlapping health insurance policies — but it does tend to cause confusion when claims are submitted. And of course a child with insurance provided by one parent would not be eligible for subsidies on the exchange for a policy purchased by the other.

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