Parents Are Not Responsible for Medical Debts of Adult Children

Richard Gundling, senior vice president at the Healthcare Financial Management Association, tells the Wisconsin Gazette that parents are not generally responsible for an adult child’s medical debts:

“Normally, if you’re 18 or older, you’re considered the responsible party, even if you’re insured under your parents’ policy,” Gundling said.

Under the Affordable Care Act, parents can keep their children up to age 26 on their insurance policy, even if the adult kids are financially independent and live on their own.

When young people turn 18, they can decide whether to receive medical care or check themselves into a hospital. Once there they typically would sign their own paperwork that says they consent to medical care and agree to pay any amounts that their insurer doesn’t cover.

Generally, parents would be responsible for their adult child’s debts only if they had signed an agreement with a medical provider to cover them.