Should Both Parents Carry Insurance for Kids??

Updated on January 07, 2008
P.S. asks from Fort Worth, TX
20 answers

Hello Mamas,

I recently started a new job; therefore, I will have the ability to sign up for insurance benefits. My kids already have insurance threw my husband's employer. My question is should I sign them up under my insurance plan also? I thought it would make sense to have two insurances for my kids. However, I've heard stories about conflicts with two insurances and some have also said that it really doesn't save money to have two insurances. Can anyone offer any advice? Also, it must be noted that one of my sons is disabled and needs a little extra medical attention (neurologist, oral surgery, braces for legs, pt, ot, st, etc...)


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So What Happened?

Thanks to all who gave such great advice! Here's the final update. I took everyone's opinion into consideration and realized it was beneficial for me to put my whole family on my insurance plan due to less cost and better benefits. If my employment is terminated I can then go back on my husband's insurance because loss of job is a life change; therefore, I can make mid-year changes. Same goes for cancelling his insurance. Since, I have a new job we can cancel insurance in the middle of the year. Thanks, again!!

Featured Answers



answers from San Antonio on

Unless you have children with health issues you might end up paying more in premiums than you would just picking the best carrier and going with it.

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answers from Houston on

I think one insurance company is bad enough to deal with and shudder at the thought of having two! But have you compared the plans? It might be better to have the other plan. IF so, I wouldn't cancel the first plan until you are certain that you are not going to be fired and you are not going to quit!

As for your disabled son, you may qualify for state medical assistance. I know a lot of people who use it and although it's not GREAT it does help, especially in picking up what your primary health insurance doesn't pay for (such as deductibles.)

My children are autistic but I do all our therapy at home and so far we haven't needed any special stuff but if we did I'd probably check into the state program (Medicaid? I'm not really sure what all the program entails but I know it's different for disabled children...)



answers from Dallas on

Hi there!

I wouldn't recommend two insurance plans to cover the kids because of the payment conflicts, etc. But here's what I would look at since you have the chance...

1. I would look at how much the premiums would be if the kids are on your insurance versus how much they are through your husbands plan. Maybe it would be less money out of your family's hands if they were on your plan with you?

2. How much are copays, are their dr.s on your plan, and would your plan cover more or the same?

3. I would ask your HR department if they have a contact at your insurance co where you could discuss your disabled child's needs since that may be a bit beyond regular customer service at the insurance co., and see if they cover your child's needs and if there are any pre-existing clauses that would prevent payment.

Then I would make a side by side list of the pros and cons, kids on your ins, and kids on hubby's ins and see which one looks better.

Hope that helps!! Good luck.


answers from Dallas on


Why don't you call both insurance companies and ask them if it would be beneficial or not.

Initally, I was thinking just to go with the best company, but after reading what the other moms have said, two might be the way to go.

However, if they will not work together, and you would end up running in circles to get things paid, then why waste the money on the second insurance?

Call both companies, tell them your situation, and see what they have to say.



answers from Seattle on

We had a similar situation recently and eventually I kept my medical while the girls went on his medical, and we're all on his dental coverage, this way it saved us money. Just add up what it is for average medical costs and premiums and whose insurance the kids should be on. If you go with two insurances, I work in billing, unless the primary has a big deductible, the amount the secondary covers isn't enough to make much of a difference. And there should never be an argument as to whose insurance is primary for the kids, it is the parent whose birthday falls first in the year (not by age but by month, if one parent's DOB is in January, their insurance is primary for the children). Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

& here is my 5 cents worth...I just went through this. Now your children sound as if they are covered primariy through your husbands insurance for the past & now that you have coverage even more the better. There will be NO Pre-Existing as the children, yourself & your husband have been & are currently covered by an existing current medical insurance, which eliminates the pre-existing clause (this only falls into effect should you lose or have a break in coverage) I have had 6 back surgeries & seen for chronic pain as well as on going medical conditions and I have been consistantly covered, even through cobra (& it counts as coverage)& yes they had to give me a policy without preexisting conditions, due to the fact that there was no BREAK in our coverage. First & the easiest would be to keep the one have currently as your PRIMARY insurance which would cover up to 80% (depending on the plan you choose originally) then sign up for your coverage as a secondary insurance which would & should pickup the remaining 20% or whatever is left over from the primary insurance company & possibly some of your deductiables,Yes speak to your insurance coordinators to figure out which is the best for your own family. You are very blessed to be able to have this coverage. Remember above all to make a file for this year, 1 for each member of the family or a large notebook (1 for each with sections for each member & keep all the EOB (Explanation of benefits) that way you can keep track of who paid what & for whom...I know it sounds like a lot a work, but it is worth it in the end, believe me I know I am still gettings bills & EOB's straightened out.




answers from Longview on

Like the former poster said, look at the benefits of each one vs. what you have to pay for it. Then decide which one to go with. YOu can have a secondary and a primary insurance but you cannot have two primaries.

Just talk to your insurance person and they can help you too.



answers from Dallas on

When I was single after a divorce, I went to work and had insurance but what happened was his deductible came first. I ended up paying for his deductible and the money any claims were sent to him. It was a mess. I had to hve it on me but a waste to have it on them. G. W



answers from Dallas on

I would talk to your benefits department at your work. One of the biggest issues that I would be concerned about is a pre-existing condition clause with your new insurance. I would hate to pay for premiums on your new insurance if your son won't be covered for a year. I likewise advise to schedule some time with your benefits coordinator and have them explain what would be covered with the addition of your insurance that otherwise wouldn't be. I wish you the best of luck navigating a very confusing system - it seems as though often when I call with an issue at our insurance company that sometimes the people working there don't understand the coverage! Good luck to you!



answers from Dallas on

Here is what someone recommended to me one time and boy does it make sense. If both parents have access to group health insurance through their employer it is wise to have two separate coverages and here's why:

If the entire family is on dad's plan and dad gets laid off, everybody goes on COBRA, which can be very expensive. Mom can't start new coverage at her work until the enrollment period unless she's a new hire. If mom covers herself, or perhaps herself plus one child on her plan and dad covers himself, or himself plus one child or other child and dad gets laid off, mom has the option to change her plan mid-year to add them because "spouse becomes unemployed" is an acceptable mid-year family change, just like having a baby, losing a family member, or adoption.

Just something to think about.



answers from Dallas on

My husband ended up with coverage from two different branches of the company where he works. It only meant paying premiums on two different plans. We too have a child who needs additional medical attention, and thought that the extra coverage may come in handy if the "first" insurance company wouldn't cover something, but it was unnecessary (the doctor can write a Letter of Medical Nnecessity if the insurance company refuses to cover an item - our doctor even called the medical director of our insurance company on one occassion). And, the insurance companies get a little testy if they find out that you have additional coverage. They'll try everything to wiggle out of the bill. Just compare the plans, and choose the best one for your family.



answers from Houston on

Hi P.,
What I am familar with is that you have to pay for these insurance. What I think you should do is pick from the insurance company that has the best coverage. Hope that helped a ll



answers from Beaumont on

I agree with Tara. I always had 2 insurances (until 2 yrs ago) and it was wonderful. What ever the primary didn't pay was automatically filed on the secondary and it saved a TON of money. The drs. office does everything for you so it isn't confusing at all. I can only think of a few times that I had to pay ANYTHING, so it's definitely worth it in the long run!
Best of luck!



answers from Houston on

Hi, I work at the hospital in the insurance department. Everyone who has responded has given you their truth but I will put my cents in too. If you are having to pay premiums on both insurances you need to weigh out your odds, consider pre existing, exclusions, if the two insurances work well together because some insurances don't and some work really well together picking up what the other didn't the ones that don't work well together argue about who is primary and or they are not going to pay the other insurance needs to pay. The best thing to do is speak with your insurance coordinator
at your job and your husbands, if you speak to the insurance companies its best to speak to someone in claims rather than someone from benefits because the reps from eligibility and benefits alot of times are like receptionists that are only trained to read what they pull up on the screen. Trust me there is so many times I want to tell patients of mine that they are wasting there money. I've even saw where there are no premiums being charged from neither insurance and it not be worth it because the insurance companies argue but like I've said sometimes they work together beautifully.



answers from Houston on

If you are lucky enough to get 2 ins. for your kids , I would do it. It might be a good idea to have extra coverage for your son.(Just in case one company says that they won't cover something that your son needs . ) Or I've heard of if one company will only pay a portion leaving you to pay the rest then file a claim( of the unpaid part with the 2nd ins. company,). If ya'll have ins. with 2 different companies than you might have better coverage for choosing Drs.and prescription plans.
Good luck



answers from Little Rock on

I would see who's insurance plan is better and has better deductables, co-pays and so on and just go with that plan. :)



answers from Dallas on

We just started having two insuracnes and it has saved us money. The easiest way in terms of billing is if the MDs office will file both. (Not all do). If they do it is great. You don't have to worry about filing twice. One insurance is the primary, the other is the secondary and that it decided by certains rules governing 2 insurance coverages.
Whether it will save you money depends on how much you have to pay for coverage. We are lucky for the fact that my insurance coverage comes with no premiums. My husbands has a small one, but it the coverage is better than mine, so we kept both.
Good Luck



answers from San Antonio on

generally no. If you have 2 insurances each will fight wanting the other to be the primary insurance and pay the bulk of the medical bills. The thing to do is thoroughly investigate the 2 insurances as to what exactly they cover, then go with the one that provides the best coverage for your son's medical needs.




answers from Wichita Falls on

No, it doesn't pay - all it did for me was create a battle between the insurances as to who was "primary" and a bunch of doctors wanting me to pay the whole thing out of pocket until the insurance company got it straightened out.



answers from Kansas City on

I just wanted to add my 2 cents! :) If you or your husband loses his job, you will be able to add on to the other's coverage immediately - it is considered a life changing experience that is unavoidable and the insurance company will recognize that. they will simply need the proper information to verify that. (my stepson had this happened when his stepfather lost his job - we added him on immediately to our plan) I would say the big decision maker is the cost - if you have to pay for it, i would REALLY compare the plans. We now have my stepson double covered - only b/c his mother insists on it. Keep in mind, the primary insurance is the parent whose birthday comes first in the year. so be sure whichever parent has the birthday first has the best coverage - ie. January would be first, over a november bday...regardless of the year. We haven't found much of a benefit to have my stepson double covered b/c my husband's plan is so much better than his ex-wifes. Good luck!

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