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From Washington, DC, USA:

My 23 year old son, who has type 1 diabetes, will soon be ineligible for coverage under our family's health insurance plan. He is living with my husband and me and works for brief periods of time, but he has been unable to keep a job and has had no steady employment since leaving college. He left high school early to go to college, and even though he made excellent grades in college, he did not want to attend after one year.

He also has severe depression and some characteristics of bipolar disorder. He resists treatment and has not seen a psychologist since age 16. Where do parents go for help for adult children who have diabetes and other disorders when those children are still dependent on their families for their healthcare needs and support?


I fear that an answer from a legal perspective will leave you unsatisfied. Unless your son is a danger to himself or others, the protective services system will not take charge of your son (e.g., to commit him to a psychiatric facility). If he has health insurance, the best bet is to get him to voluntarily commit himself to a psychiatric facility. Many social service organizations in the your area (Jewish Family Service, Catholic Charities) offer social workers who might be able to help and alternatives. Perhaps, through a trust building relationship with a social worker, your son might be able to move toward a healthier, happier future.

The rules for extending healthcare coverage of adult children under the "family" health policy past the age of 19 vary from state to state. The two exceptions that companies will allow longer coverage under the family insurance plan: Coverage until they reach the age of 23 if a full-time student or the adult child must have some condition that renders him unable to live independently.

These are usually cases of profound physical or mental disability. While I would certainly encourage the parents to attempt to extend the coverage, it will require extensive documentation from physicians and other healthcare providers of your son's disability.

It is more likely you will be required to obtain individual coverage for your son. An issue to investigate when shopping for coverage will be any requirement of waiting periods for pre-existing conditions. My first choice for coverage would likely be the insurance provider of the family coverage.


Original posting 30 Jul 2002
Posted to Insurance/Costs


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:36
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