Many health insurance companies require proof of dependents and their relationship to you

Did You Know – Health Insurance Companies May Now Require Proof of Your Relationship to Dependents for Coverage

Navigating the how-to’s of health insurance can get confusing especially when looking to select a policy. For those who are looking to add a dependent for coverage on the insurance policy, there are a few extra steps you will need to take. Many health insurance companies now require proof of dependents relationship with whom you’re looking to add to your policy. To understand who is eligible for dependency you can read more here.

The shift in proof of relationship requirements happened when health insurance companies started extending the age of eligible dependents to 26 years old. Prior to the health care reform, most insurance companies did not cover dependents over the age of 23. This change meant that companies would have to pay more per employee for health insurance. Companies wanted to make sure no one was trying to trick the benefits system by having an ineligible dependent on their policy, so the proof of relationship documentation went into effect.

Proving your relationship to the dependent is easy if you have the following documents:

Acceptable forms of proof for a spouse:

  • Government certified Marriage Certificate and most recently filed tax return or proof of joint ownership (bank statement or lease)


  • Signed marriage license and proof of joint ownership

Acceptable forms of proof for a partner:

  • Government certified Civil Union Certificate and proof of joint ownership that is no more than 6 months old

Acceptable forms of proof of dependents (biological/adopted/stepchild):

  • Government certified birth certificate


  • Hospital issued birth certificate if child is being added onto the policy after a recent birth
  • Adoption certification


  • Adoption placement and petition for adoption
  • Government certified birth certificate, and government certified marriage certificate, and most recently filed tax return


  • Government certified birth certificate, and government certified marriage certificate, and proof of joint ownership that is no more than six months old


  • Government certified birth certificate, and government issues civil union certificate, and proof of joint ownership that is no more than six months old


  • Government certified birth certificate and signed marriage license


  • Government certified birth certificate and government certified Civil Union Certificate

Acceptable forms of proof for a legal ward or foster child:

  • Government certified birth certificate and court ordered document of legal custody


  • Government certified birth certificate and foster care documents

*Documentation requirements may vary upon health care provider.

Make sure you have the proper proof of relationship ready when you go to add a dependent onto your insurance policy. For help obtaining government-issued vital records, contact VitalChek. We are a leading provider of government certified vital records with our quick and easy to use online ordering platform.


  1. Yes my husband’s company is requiring that we show proof of marriage license faxed to the group that was verifying that we were married now they’re saying that our marriage license is insufficient source of proof that we are married and they are wanting us to provide another form of proof that we are married such as utility bills, car loan, joint ownership of property, joint banking account documentation. We married later in life we already had our vehicles, checking accounts we do not have joint anything except our childrend. The company is not being very helpful at all in fact they have been rude and disrespectful. I am a stay at home mother with our children. Insurance through my husband’s company is the most economical way for us to receive insurance for me. We have checked on getting an insurance policy for me through the Affordable Healthcare Act and it is actually unaffordable. In fact going through the Affordable Healthcare Act is more to insure me then to have a policy for our family under my husband at his work. The last thing that was said to us was provide what we want or your wife will not have insurance. So my question is what are people doing to prove to their companies that their marriage is true when they do not have property or anything in joint name? An we do not have our tax forms because we have not filed taxes in several years due caring for elderly family members and it’s not like we are the government they owe us.

    1. Hello and Thank you for your question.
      Typically a certified marriage certificate is sufficient proof of legal marriage. A marriage license will not prove you are legally married since it is obtain before you are actually married. A marriage license is also only good for a certain amount of time.
      You can obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the state or county you were married in unless if you purchased your marriage license in New York. New York requires you to obtain the marriage certificate from the same county/state office that you obtained your marriage license. You can also order your marriage certificate through our services at Vital Chek or call our office at 1-800-255-2414. We are the authorized ordering service for the state and county vital records offices
      Hopefully this information was helpful.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  2. My company is requiring proof of joint owner ship like a bill or account. My husband moved in with me so I did not change anything. I am being told now they are going to drop him even though we have supplied them with a certified married license. Can someone tell me if this is legal and what can I do?

    1. Hello Ms. Cardwell. Thank you for your question. Unfortunately we cannot offer you any legal answers but suggest you seek out a HR specialist within your company if possible. They should be able to offer suggestions toward a solution to this problem.

  3. I am my childs legal father and need per the support agreement to add my 2 children to my health insurance. I am not on my youngest childs birth certificate and was never married to their mother. I have a support agreement. My insurance is asking for their birth certificates, I do not have copies of this, mom is not cooperating, the attorney general is saying I must get them added and my insurance is giving me 30 days to produce proof they are my children. Not sure what to do here to get this done quickly, also the children live in CA and I live in a different state?

    1. Hello Ty. The rules that govern who is eligible to receive a copy of an individual’s birth certificate vary from state to state. Therefore, we suggest you contact the vital records agency that issued your child’s birth certificate to determine the steps you need take to get the documentation you need for your insurance company.

  4. My self employed husband recently took a position with a company that provides free health insurance, vision, and dental to the employee. We decided it would be worth it for me to drop him from my employer coverage and save over $200/month in premium and spousal surcharge. However, my employer wants proof of his coverage at his company. It’s not a problem, my husband will have their HR write a letter on their letterhead stating when his insurance will become active, however, I’m curious why they need that information to “drop” coverage on a family member?

    1. Hello Kathy! Great question. Since the Affordable Care Act requires everyone to have insurance, it is more than likely that your insurer is required to have proof of new insurance before they can legally drop your husband from your coverage.

  5. My husband’s employer will not insure me due to my employer offering ins. Forcing us to pay 2 deductibles, 2 premium. My employer does not offer dental so he is trying to add me to his dental plan. We send them ss card, copy of marriage licence. Now they want a copy of my 1040!!!! This is insane and invasion of my privacy . Why would they want my tax return ?

    1. Hello Stacy and thanks for your question. While a copy of the marriage certificate proves that you and your husband were indeed married, it does not offer any proof as to whether you are still together. More than likely, they want a copy of your tax return as verification that you and your husband are indeed still married.

  6. Hello, I had a child on November 2, 2016 my child was suppose to be covered under my employer coverage. I was sent a paper stating that I needed to send a questionnaire paper and a birth certificate. Somewhere in the mix of things I only send in the questionnaire paper and did not attach the birth certificate which needed to be submitted by jan. 8 2017 in the 62 day window….I was not notified that it was not turned in. After my son was already terminated from insurance I received an insurance card. So I thought everything was OK in regards to insurance for my son and myself. But Jan. 11, 2017 patient accountant calls to tell me he has no insurance for 2016 and now I have no way of paying the delivery bill. I thought everyone had to have insurance. What can I do from here?

    1. Hello Taylor. Congratulations on your new baby. We’re sorry to hear you are having issues with insurance for your son. We recommend you contact the insurance company to find out if you have any recourse regarding this situation. If you cannot get it resolved with the insurance company, reach out to the hospital accounting office to see if they will work with you to set up a payment plan. Good luck.

  7. VitalChek is misleading. I submitted my request for a marriage certificate and though there was a notice that I might have to pay additional charges – The visuals or indications on the site page lead you to believe that it will be $24 total.
    What comes next after paying is that it says the State of California requires additional proof and you are required to download their proof of identity form and take that to a notary.
    What the site should have said or have a statement saying that the “State of California requires additional proof and or documentation” as they would already know this for all states. I would have cancelled at that point or given it a second thought. This will delay the whole process further and make it all sadly more costly and possibly a waste of time. Thanks for the visual misrepresentation!

    1. Hello, Raymond. We’re sorry you are frustrated with the ordering process on our site. Please email us at vitals.research@vitalchek. com and we’ll be happy to look into this for you.

  8. I have a complicated question and perhaps you could out.

    I had insurance on my own (before married)from Jan 2016-July 2016

    I got married in June 2016

    cancelled my insurance and made the cancellation effective on August 2016. In Mid-July my husband mentioned his boss gave misinformation regarding the time frame we had to get me on his insurance. He verified this with insurance company and they agreed ed we didn’t qualify for a special enrollment period. Due to that information I immediately went to the marketplace to appy for insurance out of fear of being penalized. I went through the registration process, paid the first month down, and was covered. After some more investigating it did look like we were able to have me on his insurance. I was immediately added on my husbands insurance and cancelled the marketplace insurance immediately. From the looks of the 1095 A it shows to be a month of coverage through the marketplace. In that time my husband obtained employment somewhere else and I was successfully added on his other job for the 2016 tax season.

    My tax situation looks complicated and I’m fearful due to how complicated it is that will result in us having issues.

    Does my insurance before getting married under my unmarried last name necessary for tax people to know? That insurance information is legitimate, I only have the old insurance card to prove that insurance was in possession at that time. It shows my first name but also shows my last name before getting married.

    Should I provide my 1095 A to my tax prepare for only a month of marketplace insurance and even though I cancelled it?

    Will the IRS need my husbands 1095 C to prove my coverage through the two jobs he had in 2016? I have read the 1095 B and C is not needed to file. But due to how complicated this situation is would it be advisable?

    Does it matter we married mid year?

    Note: Did change last name with Social Security and DMV.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated to have some extra piece of mind.


    1. Hello Brittany. Thanks for reaching out to us. Since tax and insurance regulations often change, we recommend you present your questions to a qualified tax professional who should be knowledgeable on the latest requirements and can answer most of your questions. Good luck!

  9. Can a company force someone by threat of loss of insurance coverage if they are not given a photo copy for them to KEEP of someone’s child birth certifiacte? If a company were to say that just seeing a copy of the certificate is not enough, we want to keep a photo copy?

    Same with Marriage certificate.

    What if a company demanded a photo copy to KEEP of someone’s JOINT tax return?

    ALL this just to say everyone is eligible for there insurance plan.

    This is hypothetical of course.

    1. Thank you for your question. Depending upon the regulations of the state in which you are employed, such actions may or may not be acceptable. In general, you are correct in wanting to keep your family’s vital record documents secure and not hand out copies for other organizations or individuals to keep unless necessary. If you are required to provide such information, we suggest asking about the level of security for the documents being kept by the organization. Thank you and best regards.

  10. I’ve been on my husbands insurance with Walgreens for over 8 years and they are requesting way to much personal information , marriage certificate , tax returns , can we fight this in any way ? I really don’t want some third party to have this information

    1. Hello Sandra, More than likely, the requests from Walgreens for so much information is directly related to the provisions of current health care legislation. Many employers will only cover a spouse or dependent if they do not have access to coverage through their own employer. Therefore, the often require proof of relationship status – marriage certificates, tax returns – to verify the spouse or dependent is eligible.

  11. I found this website helpful as I am now being asked for this information from my health insurance provider. I am also familiar with the LexisNexis name and understand that it is a reliable source.

    The problem I’m having with providing the information to my health insurance provider is that there was no statement stating how the documentation supplied would be retained, for how long, who would have access to it, and how it would be protected.

    These days identity thieves, advertisers, and data banks are lurking everywhere for every bit of Personally Identifiable Information they can find.

    How do I know my information and that of my family members will be protected?

    1. Hello David. Thanks for reaching out with your question. We suggest you contact your insurance company and inquire about the steps they take to protect your private information once they have it.

  12. Is a photo copy of birth certificate and marriage license acceptable for adding dependents to company insurance in TN
    acceptable or is the original required?

    1. Hello Lisa. Thanks for posting your question regarding proof of identity requirements for insurance purposes. More than likely the photocopy of the birth certificate and marriage license will suffice but we suggest you contact the insurance company involved for verification. If you are required to present certified copies of your vital records, VitalChek is authorized by hundreds of vital records agencies nationwide to offer convenient online order processing. Just visit to get started.

  13. My husband is a Teamster (Class A truck driver w/30 yrs exper) in CA who has a new job with a collective bargaining agrmt. Under the AGRMT, they are required to offer Health Care options at no cost to him, his spouse and dependents. They spent also spent 9 weeks (after his applucatipn was accepted and personal interview when they said he was hired and would start in a few days!) Requiring and doing: 1.) A 9-page very detailed additional online application with both our SSA #, etc. 2.) A thorough Background check w/3rd party they contracted with, who asked same questions as 9 pg second application (Again), all incl. Info about our adult children who are over age 26., and, 3.) A complete med Exam and drug test which took 2 more weeks for special instructions to come Fed Ex…drive hour away, etc. (all these not only postponed his promised start date by over 2 months, but was done on his own time/expense) plus called 4:45pm night before his 1st start date at job, told him must Watc 6 Safety and Company Videos (they sent a link 10 min later to access them) at home that night, which took over 2 hours to dowload and then watch) if thats not enough (remember, this is for driving a cement mixing truck, not working at FBI) so NOW, after 2 days of employment, AFTER my Husband has started working for them, they are demanding more info before they will add me to his Benefit Package: they demand immed: 1.) ORIGINAL, CERTIFIED BIRTH CERTIFICATES FOR BOTH OF US, ORIGINAL CERT MARRIAGE CERT (1988), & OUR CA TAX RETURNS PAST 2 YEARS.

    I read CA Labor Law and it clearly states that both a CERT MARRIAGE CERT with proof of JOINT BANKING ACCOUNT is sufficient (do NOT then have to provide tax returns) In addition, We are NOT adding Any ‘dependents’ BUT me (spouse) to his Benefit PKG, so I should not have to provide a CERTIFIED BIRTH CERTIFICATE or copy of my Social Security Card. Just to add final straw, the CA Company Employee pdf.Handbook just sent us, and they required we Download (32 pgs!!) Very clearly States in it’s own Section that they are “Proud to be Non-Union” and Spent sev paragraphs discouraging Employees from even talking to a Union Rep…etc. (but my husband IS in local Union, so now we think they HAD to hire him because they couldn’t find any qualified drivers who could pass stringent requirements, lol) still illegal to strongly advise against other employees from Possibility of joining a Union or organizing. They also mandate that lactating women can only express Breast milk during their lunch hour in designated areas…(??!)

    My MAIN OTHER CONCERN NOW THOUGH IS I CANNOT get a CERTIFIED copy of my Birth Certificate, as I was adopted in 1960, but born in 1958 in a prison in Lowell, Florida. My birth is under State of FL Court ‘Seal’ – The only ‘Birth Certificate I have (and used to obtain Passports, etc,) is an unusual looking copy from the FL State Adoption Agency where I lived first 2 yrs of my life. THAT was ‘certified’ Dec xx, 19xx, BUT shows my birthdate as Oct. xx, 19xx. It lists my Adopted Parents, as my Parents, etc. This huge billion $$ Construction Co. Headquarters are in Alabama, we think know With the political climate, they are going overboard in checking potential and new hires in Northern CA! I need these health benefits, which they promised, then asked for all the additional Info AFTER they hired my spouse and started working him. What can we do? Please don’t suggest we contact our Union Rep., we’ve done that sev x, never responds. Thanx!

    1. Hello Wilhelmina. Thanks for reaching out with your question about your birth certificate. Since you were born in Florida and adopted in Florida, you post-adoption birth certificate should be on file in the state of Florida and is considered your certified birth certificate. You can find out more information about ordering a certified copy of your birth certificate by visiting the Florida Vital Records website or by ordering directly online through VitalChek partners directly with the state of Florida to offer expedited online ordering of vital records using credit cards as the method of payment.

  14. After being insured for 8 years with the only changes to my insurance being added my children as they were born. I work for the hospital my children were born at, and the provided me with the birth certificate. The hospital is self insured and administered through an outside agency. I am being asked to provide documentation on all of my dependents. Birth certificates for my children (the hospital has those on record), a certified copy of my marriage license, and a copy of my last years taxes. I don’t understand why they are doing all this now.

    1. Hello. Thanks for reaching out with your question. We suggest you contact your HR department to get an explanation as to why they are suddenly requiring all this documentation and if it is mandatory that you submit the requested documents. If you are not satisfied with the answers you receive, you may want to seek out legal guidance on this issue.

  15. My employer is using a out of state 3rd party to
    Check eligibility for insurance and they are
    requiring my kids birth certificates what Can I
    redact to ensure there information is not stolen and used.

    1. Hello Nyree. Thanks for reaching out with your question. We suggest you contact them to determine precisely what information they need and then redact the rest.

  16. Hello my employer sent me a letter saying they would terminate my employment if I don’t provide a marriage certificate and my children’s birth certificate is this legal to terminate for this reason ?

    1. Hello Lori. Whether or not your could be terminated for not providing the requested documents would depend on the labor laws in your state.

  17. Hello, I am asking this question on my brother and sister-in-law’s behalf. My brother started a new job and signed up for health insurance which he wanted to include his wife. They requested copy of marriage license. They were unable to locate the license by specified deadline but did locate it and fax it in approximately one week late. Now they will not cover his wife because he missed the deadline. After this occurred she has been diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition and needs surgery. Can they deny coverage because of the missed deadline? Also what recourse do they have. My brother is retired and has a job that helps to pay the bills and keeps him busy. They were told he makes too much money for assistance. I am afraid because of this technicality she will lose her life.

    1. Hello Joanne. We are sorry to hear about the situation your brother and sister-in-law are in. Unfortunately, we cannot speak to the legality of the insurance company’s denial of coverage. They may want to contact the insurance company to see if there is anything that can be done to resolve this situation or they may want to seek out legal advice. Best wishes in finding a resolution.

  18. My employer is requesting my tax return information as well as my marriage certificate. Is this normal?

    1. Hello Falan. Thanks for reaching out with your question. Requirements for obtaining insurance from you employer may vary but it is not entirely surprising that they are requesting tax information and marriage certificates to verify your marital status.

  19. my husbands insurance wanted proof of marriage, nothing has changed and now they are saying we didnt get the info in on time and they dropped my coverage. we have been trying to get this resolved but i have medical problems and no insurance coverage for almost 2 months., is this legal? and how do i get my coverage back?

  20. I am quite upset to hear this is legal but now my real issue. I was married using my husband’s last name when I had my children. I’m divorced now and returned to my maiden name. My children’s birth certificates both have my married last name. – so that proof won’t work. I only claimed my daughter on my taxes, my ex claimed our son so my 1040 form won’t work. I do have a divorce modification that stipulates I am to provide insurance for both children but that only applied until my son turned 18. He’s 19 now. What do I do?

    1. Hello. Unfortunately, we do not know enough about the situation to offer any guidance. You may consider contacting a legal professional to help you work your way through this issue. We wish you the best.

  21. I have a quick question. My husbands insurance sent us a letter asking for certified copies of birth certificates for both of our children to be mailed into them, as well as a certified marriage certificate for us. Do they mean a real certified copy, or the typical copy of a certified copy that the majority of companies ask for? They did not specify and buying extra certified copies can get rather expensive and I’m not entirely comfortable mailing such private documents in the mail.

    1. Hello Miranda. Each company may have different requirements so before you spend the money to get actual certified copies for the insurance company, we suggest you contact them to find out if they actually need the certified copies or if photocopies will suffice.

  22. I do not feel they have any right to my tax returns. It is not their business what I make. Why isn’t a marriage certificate enough, ownership has to be in the last 12 months, and lastly why is it their business what I own?

  23. Can my employer cancel my insurance if I have step-children covered on it that do not live with me, but my husband is required to provide health ins per child support order?

  24. My insurance company is refusing to verify my daughter as a dependent because I missed the deadline by 8 days. I have filed an appeal but it looks like they are going to deny it. Can they do that? I have paid all my premiums in full and on time.

  25. Hello, my company is in the middle of an audit and they want proof of eligibility for health and life insurance. I got married almost a year ago and we have not changed anything as far as sate i.d’s, license. My husband moved in with me so I already had all bills in my name and didn’t see a reason to change anything. We got married in July 2018, I cancelled my health insurance and only kept life insurance for my husband and child. I sent the requested documents needed. Then we had open enrollment at my job in November 2018, again I sent in the needed documents(marriage license, birth certificate). So, they had an audit and they needed the marriage license and birth certificate again. But, along with the marriage license they requested tax documents or state I.D.’s with the same address on it. We never changed any information on our I.D.’s so I explained to my hr and they continue to say we need that information in order to keep my husband covered under life insurance. Needless to say they said they were going to remove him. I think this is very unfair! I am not even on their health insurance. I am on my husbands health insurance. I believe it is some kind of way to save the company some money some how and not even care what this is doing to us with life insurance.

  26. Hello, so my boyfriend is trying to add our son on to his insurance. His name is not on the birth certificate, because he was unable to be there. I need help to figure out what to do. They are not accepting his recent tax return with my sons name on it. So i was wondering if anyone knows of any suggestions ? Thank you for your time.

    1. Hello Vanessa. Thanks for reaching out with your question. You may want to contact the vital records agency that issued your son’s birth certificate to find out how to amend the birth certificate to include the father’s name. Also, does your boyfriend have paternity papers proving he is your son’s father? If so, he may be able to present those for documentation.

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