When the time comes to purchase a health insurance plan, it is possible to get a coverage that extends to include dependents. It’s common for this to include a spouse and children, but once you’ve got past these normalities, can you put non-family members on your health insurance?

It’s true that most insurance companies prefer to only cover immediate family on health insurance policies, but there are situations where people outside of your immediate family can qualify and be covered by your health insurance plan.

The laws surrounding coverage are no longer as black and white as they once were, and in most cases, who can be added to your health insurance plan depends on the laws of your state. 

Common-law marriage

Common-law marriage is where a couple lives together and hold themselves as being married, without going through a formal ceremony or getting a marriage license. The type of marriage still exists in 10 states and the District of Columbia, and five states recognize common law marriage with some restrictions.

Common-law marriage requirements include factors such as: 

  • Must live together. 
  • Have a legal right to marry.
  • Intend to be married.
  • Hold joint bank accounts.
  • Take the same last name. 

If you and your partner live in a state where you qualify for common-law marriage, you should be able to legally cover your spouse on your health insurance. However, if your state does not recognize common-law relationships, it will be difficult to cover your partner.

Should you move from a state that recognized common-law marriages to a state that does not, your relationship may no longer be legally binding meaning you would no longer be able to claim your spouse on health insurance. 


Children are probably the first people that come to mind when considering your dependents. Alongside biological children, stepchildren, adopted children and foster children all qualify as your dependent if they have lived with you for at least six months. 

Stepchildren qualify as family members in most states and this applies regardless of whether the parent has adopted the children or not.

Friends and distant relatives

Aside from your child and spouse, it’s possible to include more distant relatives and non-family members as dependents under certain conditions. These will vary depending on the policy but you can expect it to include conditions such as:

  • No one else has named them as a dependent.
  • Gross annual income is less than $3,000.
  • You are responsible for providing more than half of the financial support they rely on.

As well as elderly relatives and children over the age of 26, you can include those (including non-family members) who have lived in your house for at least a year, provided they meet the criteria above. 

To find out what’s possible in your state, get in touch with one of our representatives by calling 1-855-881-0430. Our licensed agents will be able to detail which of your family members and non-family members are able to be placed on your insurance plan.