There are many situations where parents may want standalone medical aid cover for their children without an adult member. This is a common situation that arises after divorce. With the rising cost of living, many parents may want to keep children on medical aid cover despite dropping their membership. Irrespective of the circumstances, the concern is often the same – can minor children be on a medical aid on their own?
Adults Dependents Are A Requirement
There is an age limit for children who want to be on a medical aid on their own. Medical aid membership requires that there is a main member who is at least 18 years old. This poses a problem for minor children who need to be on a medical aid on their own. This means that at least one parent, if not an adult child, has to be on the medical aid for the minor children/siblings to be covered.
It is also important to note that parents or the adult member cannot terminate their medical aid membership while trying to maintain the children on the cover. Termination by the main member means that all members, adult or child dependents, will also lose their cover. The same applies to suspension of the medical aid with non-payment of premiums. Minor children cannot be on a medical aid on their own.
However, this rule may not always be applicable in the event that the adult main member (like a parent) is deceased after the medical aid cover was commenced. It is important to clarify this with the individual medical scheme. Usually minor children will need to have a guardian but if there are funds for the medical aid cover to be continued, then the medical scheme may make an exception and allow children to remain on the medical aid cover.
Medical Aid for Children After Divorce
Another common situation that often poses a problem is when the parents are divorced. One parent may be liable for maintenance for the child or children. This may include partial or complete payment of the medical aid premium for the child. Unfortunately the minor child cannot be on a standalone medical aid. Instead the parents have to come to an agreement as to how the medical aid cover can be continued for the child under these circumstances.
One option is for the child to be on the medical aid for the parent who has custody of the child. This parent will pay their own portion of the premium while the parent liable for maintenance will cover only the child’s portion of the medical aid premium. Another option is for the parent who is paying maintenance but does not have custody to include the child under their own medical aid.
Often with disagreements between the parents, this situation becomes complicated and may lead to conflict. Without proper maintenance enforcement, there is a risk that the child’s membership can be compromised. Medical care may therefore be limited for the child. It is therefore imperative that parents reach a legal agreement as to how to manage the child’s medical aid membership after divorce.