Foster Kids and Insurance

The other day at work, I was thrilled to see that I can add foster children to my insurance.  I like to be prepared, so I decided to investigate.  Since I work for the federal government, I was not surprised to discover that there were hoops and forms to fill out.  But some of the requirements stymied me.  It makes no sense.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) requirements are:

  • the child must be under age 26 (if the child is age 26 or over, he/she must be incapable of self-support);
  • the child must currently live with you;
  • the parent-child relationship must be with you, not the child’s biological parent;
  • you must currently be the primary source of financial support for the child; and
  • you must expect to raise the child to adulthood.

When you’re taking care of a child in foster care, it could be debated if you are the primary source of financial support.  Yes, the State pays a stipend to foster families, but it clearly does not cover the majority of expenses for clothes, food, housing, transportation, etc.

But do you expect to raise the child to adulthood?  If that what it takes, then the answer is yes.  But you don’t know. The foster agency doesn’t know.  The courts don’t know.  The bio parents don’t know.  No one knows how long the child will be with you until either the child is reunited, moved to another home, or adopted by you. That uncertainty is life, particularly when it comes to foster care.

If you know that you are going to parent the child to adulthood, that would be adoption.

Has anyone ever used federal health insurance for foster kids? Can you demystify how it works?

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