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Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr.

Q: Can I add my newborn grandchild to my health insurance, if my son is not married and is covered under my plan?

A: It’s unlikely you’ll be able to do so. The health law requires insurers and employers that cover dependents to make coverage available until children reach age 26. But coverage is not required to be offered to grandchildren.

However, it’s still worth asking your employer if you can add your grandchild to your plan, says Cheryl Fish-Parcham, private insurance program director at Families USA, an advocacy group.

In addition, your grandchild may be eligible for Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income people, or CHIP, which has slightly higher income limits. There are special eligibility rules for children who are tax dependents of someone who is not their parent or a spouse, says Judith Solomon, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. You can also purchase a “child-only” policy on the health marketplace in your state.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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