Smiling mother and adult son sitting outdoors © iStock

Dear Insurance Adviser,

Our son, who is 27 and no longer covered under our health insurance, needed some in-patient and out-patient care. The hospital is requesting payment, and we did pay some, but it keeps adding to the bills. He is still in rehab, is not working and has no assets. I feel obligated to help as his parent, though I understand that he is an adult. What should I do?

— Bonnie

Dear Bonnie,

Legally, you are not responsible for his bills. As an adult, your son has the financial obligation to pay his own bills. Morally, I understand your desire to help him by contributing toward the costs of his treatment.

But I have a better idea that will help him more on a long-term basis: Enroll him in a health plan available through the Obama health care law. Because he has no assets and, I suspect, very limited income, he should be eligible for a nice subsidy on the premium cost. The next open enrollment begins Nov. 1 for coverage that starts Jan. 1. You can pay the premiums for him directly, at least until he is out of the financial woods.

This won’t help him with his current bills. But it will pay the cost of any additional rehab, should he have a relapse. More importantly, it will cover his major medical bills from a serious illness or accident.

As a footnote, there are short-term, temporary health insurance policies available for immediate purchase and coverage, though they do not cover pre-existing conditions. If you want him to have health insurance before the Jan. 1, contact a local health insurance agent for details.

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