Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

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it'smyjob?
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Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by it'smyjob? » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:58 pm

I am hoping Bogleheads may come up with a creative approach to solving this problem:

Our adult (30 yo) daughter has been almost completely financially independent since she graduated from college. We have helped with the occasional crunch or medical/dental bill, but this has not amounted to much. She lives in NYC, and, while it may be generally expensive to live there, her rent is quite reasonable. She also makes a decent living -such that she should be able to manage her expenses, and put away some money. She works for a small company that does not offer a retirement plan or health insurance. The ongoing conflict has been that she seems to spend every last penny ( or more) no matter what she earns. She has no savings or retirement fund. She has alluded to having some debt, but will not disclose how much. My guess is that the money is spent mostly on eating/drinking out, and some expensive clothes. She clearly lives paycheck to paycheck. It drives me crazy: this is not at all the behavior that we modeled.

Because she does not get health insurance through her work, she gets it through the NY exchange. This past June, she forgot to pay one bill, and was dropped from insurance. She appealed, but the appeal was denied. So, she has gone without health insurance since then. Obviously, my husband and I were very upset. Our own money is on the line if anything happens to her. We emphasized how critical it is that this never happen again. She signed up to get health insurance for next year. Now that she is over 30, and because of rate increases, her premium has jumped from $250 -$620 per month for a high deductible plan. She has said that she can't afford this. I suggested she ask for a raise. But, in the meantime, we have conceded that we will help with the premiums. I said she must provide me with a list of her basic expenses for us to agree to help (and to determine how much we will help). I also suggested she sign up for mint.com and track her expenses for a while to see where her money is going. She has not yet done either one-as far as i know.

This is infuriating me. First, it is killing me that she won't wake up to the fact that she has money troubles. She thinks she is fine because her friends are all in the same boat. (Get new friends?) Second, I feel like she's got us over a barrel. She knows we aren't going to let her go without insurance. After going for 6 months without paying a premium, she should have easily saved up for the first few premium payments of 2018. Instead, she says that she can't even pay the first premium until she gets her next paycheck. I feel that, by helping her with this bill, we are subsidizing that lifestyle. And when will it end? Will we be paying for her health insurance forever? But we don't want to expose our savings to the risk of a costly medical treatment with no insurance.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to approach this? And please don't tell me to let her face the consequences of no insurance. She drives us nuts, but we do love her.

delamer
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by delamer » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:24 pm

You have my sympathy. One of my children is in a somewhat similar situation. The difference is that my child is a bit younger and still establishing a career in their chosen field, and is working a couple part-time jobs in said field. Child is dependent on us to provide health insurance or would probably be in Medicaid, which my spouse and I are not willing to risk.

Otherwise, our child is independent financially and, for better or worse, can't qualify for a credit card. So no debt. We have emphasized the need to get health insurance through a job and there have been some honest efforts to find such a job. But a lot of the work in child's field is freelance.

Here's my suggestion -- assuming that the $620 a month is not a hardship for you, pay the premiums and arrange to do so directly, rather than by giving the money to her. Accept that they are a form of gift to your daughter and yourselves for her health and future, try not to dwell on her immaturity and on her inability to follow your example.

Refuse any other financial help that she requests.

Good luck.

EDIT: She does have you over a barrel, but to some extent the barrel is of your own making. We have created the same barrel with our child. But I would not let my child go without food, shelter, or good medical care as long as I can afford to provide them, so there you have it. I try to be glad that my child is taking care of the food and shelter part.

dbr
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by dbr » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:37 pm

Yes, these things come with the territory. Paying to make sure a child is not without health insurance is part of the price of being a parent if you can't find a way to convince her to become more financially responsible and if you want to protect yourself against large uninsured medical expenses. As the costs of raising children go this one is relatively manageable.

sciliz
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by sciliz » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:38 pm

it'smyjob? wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:58 pm
She also makes a decent living -such that she should be able to manage her expenses, and put away some money. She works for a small company that does not offer a retirement plan or health insurance.
In the realm of "normal jobs", I don't personally consider any job without health insurance to be "a decent living". This is my bias, but people commonly underestimate how much more they really have to make as an "independent contractor". I suspect many Bogleheads will feel similarly about a retirement plan.

Without an idea of her income and expenses, it's impossible to know how responsible she is being. Whether you help her or not, you need to accept that she is an adult with different priorities than you and that by your particular standard she will 'waste" some of her money. However, in the absence of a severe problem (e.g. alcoholism, bipolar fueled mania, gambling, ect.), there is a good chance that her approach to money is "not-Bogleheadish but not actually the kind of thing you should try to correct in another adult"- even if she is your daughter. If that's the case, I think the only condition you should put on her is that she actually pays her premiums (I appreciate the intent of another reply that suggests you pay the company directly, but I am not sure that will work well with the exchanges, though if she isn't eligible for any subsidy you can of course buy directly through the company).

Out of curiosity, have you tried determining what you were making at her age, running it through an inflation calculator and a cost-of-living adjuster for location? While factoring any student loan bills?

it'smyjob?
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by it'smyjob? » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:33 pm

Thank you for your responses. It really does help to hear other people's views-particularly since I have been stewing over this for a while.
delamer wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:24 pm
We have emphasized the need to get health insurance through a job and there have been some honest efforts to find such a job. But a lot of the work in child's field is freelance.
Here's my suggestion -- assuming that the $620 a month is not a hardship for you, pay the premiums and arrange to do so directly, rather than by giving the money to her. Accept that they are a form of gift to your daughter and yourselves for her health and future, try not to dwell on her immaturity and on her inability to follow your example.
Refuse any other financial help that she requests.
Yes, delamer. We also discussed how much benefits matter, but I don't think that is enough for her to leave this job. (which is part of this catch-22: if she had to pay for benefits herself, would she be more apt to look for a new job? Probably not. All her colleagues simply go without insurance altogether). I like your suggestion. When framed that way (a gift to us, as well:) ), it seems less objectionable. The $620 is not a hardship, and we would pay no more than half. As she has a very high deductible, we may be called on for other medical expenses. But I would rather the cost not be an impediment to her seeking care when needed. "Try not to dwell on her immaturity". That one is going to take some effort!

Thank you, dbr. Perspective is always welcome.

sciliz, my daughter does not have what I would call a "normal" job. She works for a company that is quite well known and gets a fair bit of press in the food business, but, in my estimation, is held together by paper clips and duck tape.
sciliz wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:38 pm
it'smyjob? wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:58 pm

Whether you help her or not, you need to accept that she is an adult with different priorities than you and that by your particular standard she will 'waste" some of her money. However, in the absence of a severe problem (e.g. alcoholism, bipolar fueled mania, gambling, ect.), there is a good chance that her approach to money is "not-Bogleheadish but not actually the kind of thing you should try to correct in another adult"- even if she is your daughter. ...
Out of curiosity, have you tried determining what you were making at her age, running it through an inflation calculator and a cost-of-living adjuster for location? While factoring any student loan bills?
It does help to read your comment re accepting that she is an adult with different priorities. I trust the wisdom of other Bogleheads :D Still,it is hard to accept her right to choose her lifestyle when I start worrying about her financial future. She earns around 70k. Rent is $900. No student loans, no car. She actually can do her work from anywhere, but chooses to live in NYC to be near her friends. I'm fine with that, but it means she pays state and city income tax that she would not have to pay if she lived elsewhere.

I actually did look back at what we were making at her age. I stopped working at 30, when she was born. We lived (all three of us) on an income that is about 25% more than she is earning (in today's dollars). Our mortgage (in today's dollars) was over 3x what she is paying for her rent. Of course, we didn't have cell phones or internet bills. We also would never buy a fresh-squeezed orange juice in Brooklyn for $8.50 :)

junior
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by junior » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:34 pm

Since you feel obligated to buy her health insurance, it seems your choices are whether you buy her health insurance and repeatedly fight with her about her expenses, or whether you buy health insurance and choose to talk to her about more pleasant things when you interact with her.

If the money is not a hardship for you, and you intend to buy health insurance for her regardless of her choices, it would seem your only decision is a relationship one, not a financial one, in terms of how you want to interact with your daughter moving forward.

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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by livesoft » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:38 pm

My spouse actually says this: "Not my problem. You have to just cut them off." And I thought I was tough. I imagine though if our kids needed money for an actual medical emergency, the cash would flow. I know I didn't have health insurance from age 20 through 26. I didn't give it any thought at all.
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DrGoogle2017
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:50 pm

I have much empathy with your situation. I’ve helped one of my daughters selecting health insurance and made sure she paid for the coverage using her credit card. If she didnt have money there’s always a credit card. Not ideal, but no excuse about not having money to pay. However, when business was tough for my self-employed kid, I was willing to lend her business money until things recovered with no interest.

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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by Nate79 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:00 pm

Your daughter is acting like a child, not an adult. Adults take responsibility for their lives. If she can not live responsibly then your continuing to support her is not different than giving a drunk a drink.

Perhaps she needs to be introduced to programs such as Dave Ramsey.

gostars
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by gostars » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:07 pm

I feel like you can't truly be considered an adult if you're relying on your parents for basic life necessities. Not so much a problem in early to mid 20s while in school and establishing a career, but if you're turning 30 and still aren't generally independent (barring extenuating circumstances), that's a problem. If cutting her off entirely isn't an option, what about offering matching funds? At least get her started along the path.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:15 pm

A 30 year old is not a "child". It's time for some tough love, not enabling.

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dm200
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by dm200 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:28 pm

Am I correct that her employer does not even offer health insurance to anyone? How large or small is the employer?

Unfortunately, the "individual mandate" and assiciated penalties for being uninsured is already going away, as are ACA plan premiums going updue to federal administration decisions and actions.

She has you "over a barrel". Her decisions (that you cannot force her to change) put you at risk (if she has a BIG problem, you will feel obligated to help).

What turned our son (now late 30's) around from being financially "lax" to a much more financially responsible young man a few years ago was a girlfriend who made him toe the line financially, straighten out his credit, monitor his credit, etc. Then she dumped him. Now, in a turn of roles, our son is imposing similar "lessons" on his current girlfriend/fiancee.

Gnirk
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by Gnirk » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:35 pm

Welcome to my world. I don't know of any easy answer or solution. I have a similar situation with DH's daughter, who is 51 years old, in debt up to her eyeballs, cannot manage money in any way,, shape or form. DH has paid for her medical insurance in the past, and would again if needed, because she needs anti-depressant medication.

However, he continues to enable her by paying for her airfare to visit, paid off some pay-day loans, paid for her rent at times. In the past 5 years, he has shelled out nearly $40,000 for her various bills and expenses. She makes about $40,000 per year, and lives in a HCOL area. And the only time she calls him is when she needs money, and she is oh-so-sweet.

I fully support helping pay for medical insurance, but since I'm the step-mom I really can't say much about the rest of the enabling.

it'smyjob?
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by it'smyjob? » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:37 pm

junior, you present an interesting and accurate way of thinking about the situation. Others have said that I am only damaging my relationship with my daughter by continually harping on the subject. If I am going to pay part of the premium anyway, then, yes, maybe I shouldn't discuss finances with her any more... It would be a relief. I just feel like it's my responsibility to change her.

livesoft, Nate79, and gostars and 2birds1stone: I agree that this is not adult behavior. And, yes, young people often go without insurance for a while and are just fine. But my sanguine outlook was forever decimated when my best friend's daughter got leukemia. TWO stem cell transplants and various other procedures. There was no hope until an experimental procedure saved her life. Could you say to your child: "Too bad you don't have insurance to cover your treatment. You should have thought of that?" I can't do that. Now, if her rent goes up, and she can't afford to stay in NY? Not my problem.

And, while I would never condone her choosing to forego insurance, I do understand why her colleagues are taking that approach. $7500 in premiums to get a plan with a $7500 deductible. I think most young adults on a limited income would roll the dice.

Dr.Google2017: As you say about your self-employed kid: I would have no problem helping out a child who was doing everything in their power to make ends meet, but has hit a rough spot. My husband wants to have access to the insurance account to make sure that my daughter is paying her premiums. I think that is infantilizing, but he is adamant. He doesn't want to worry about this again. There is no short-term insurance in NY. If you lose coverage, you have to wait until the following January to get covered.

dm200: I can only hope that she meets someone with that kind of influence! Glad your son turned it around :)

Gnirk: that's a tough situation. Especially when mental health issues come into play.

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dm200
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by dm200 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:39 pm

DW and I went through years of all kinds of challenges and frustrations with our son from teen years to young adult. I have no idea why (perhaps I will ask him) he has now become a productive and responsble member of society.

ResearchMed
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:41 pm

This is so tricky.

It's not "just" a situation of helping her avoid some unpleasant outcome such as losing a home or bankruptcy, both of which would be difficult enough to watch.
But to need to fear for her health/life... ouch.

Are you in a position to do this indefinitely?
Were you planning to leave any inheritance to her later?
If so, perhaps you could phrase it as, IF this is absolutely necessary, then it will be taken out of any eventual inheritance. And perhaps something to teach her about the value of "money now" vs "money later", such that it will count double (or more?) because she's getting it early. (This would be even easier/more clear if there are other children who would not be getting this money now. OR... perhaps give the same to the others - just a thought - and they can spend it on something more interesting than health insurance. I'd suggest a bonus if the money goes into savings, but that puts you in a position of monitoring what is done with the money, and that's heading in the wrong direction!)

And I would agree about paying the insurance bills directly, even though that's not otherwise a good situation.
That last thing you want to end up with is her spending the money elsewhere, and then pleading with you for ... the health insurance premiums... again...

What worries me is... what happens if she cannot afford her car insurance? I'm thinking here more about liability than cost of the car. But again, that would perhaps bankrupt her, but not jeopardize her life, as forgoing healthcare might.

And you don't want to end up needing to deal with the costs of catastrophic health care...

Good luck.

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livesoft
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by livesoft » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:45 pm

Re: Leukemia. Insurance does not pay for experimental procedures, so having insurance was not an issue for that. Also, people can get insurance still with pre-existing conditions, so I imagine your daughter and friends cross that bridge when they need to.

Car insurance: I didn't have car insurance from age 17 through 26 either. Your daughter lives in NYC, why does she even have a car? Oh, that was a ResearchMed comment; she probably doesn't have a car.
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it'smyjob?
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by it'smyjob? » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:09 pm

Researchmed, you are echoing some of the thoughts I have had. I do have another child-8 years younger. Great job straight out of college, and pretty frugal, saving his money. I don't think making any arrangements regarding a far-off inheritance would have an effect on my daughter. That's the crux of the problem, isn't it?: not being able to think about the future. And I'm afraid that giving my son money that he can do with as he pleases is only going to fuel resentment of him- not alter her behavior. Like you suggested, I thought about a scenario where I could reward her in some way if she saved money. But, she is an adult. And like several posters have pointed out, I need to respect her decisions at some level and not try to control her. If anything, I should be extricating myself from her financial life.

livesoft, I don't know the exact details, but the new treatment (along with the transplants) were all covered by insurance. Yes, one can get insurance with a pre-existing condition. That is not the problem. Unless there is some alternate method of securing insurance, one can only get enrolled during open enrollment. There is no temporary, short-term insurance in NY. She does not have a car.

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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by livesoft » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:13 pm

She'll be fine.

I have friends in NYC in low paying jobs. They just have 3 of them at the same time.
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dodecahedron
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by dodecahedron » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:30 pm

it'smyjob? wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:37 pm
There is no short-term insurance in NY. If you lose coverage, you have to wait until the following January to get covered.
Actually, if her *monthly* income falls low enough (as it very likely would if she developed a very serious illness such as cancer requiring extensive and expensive treatment), she could qualify for either Medicaid or the NYS "Essentials" plan. Both plans have open enrollment all year long (and the fact that her income earlier in the year might have been too high to qualify would not disqualify her later in the year if her income falls.)

delamer
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by delamer » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:06 pm

Given that your daughter has already shown she is irresponsible about paying her premiums, I would insist on having the bills come to you to make sure they get paid on time. That is the way we’ll be doing it with our child.

I also wanted to second junior’s comment above. When I was a kid, there was a certain gift that I asked for at Christmas and for my birthday. My mother thought the gift was a waste of money. But instead of just saying no, she’d buy it for me and then complain about what a waste of money it was. I decided back then that I would give a gift without resentment or I would not give it.

If you decide to give money to her brother in lieu of her insurance premiums, you could open an IRA for him. However, there is no reason to tell your daughter what you give her brother or vice versa.

it'smyjob?
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by it'smyjob? » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:35 pm

Thanks, livesoft:)
And thank you, dodecahedron. That is good information to know - but never need to employ, knock on wood.
Great comment, delamer. Your personal story has left an impression. Thank you. We have told DD that we need access to her account online. We will pay directly, and check that she has paid her part. I like the idea of making a contribution to an IRA for my son. Or another account, as he thinks he may want to go back for grad school later. But I agree: no need to tell either one. My daughter already resents his situation.

I want all who have responded to know that your comments have shaped my attitude going forward. Even those comments recommending "cutting her off" have helped me get a more balanced perspective. I admit that, when I first posted, I was looking for creative scenarios (incentives, whatever) to induce my daughter to start saving. But, frankly, after hearing reactions in voices other than my own, I think I am coming to realize that that is not what I should be doing. At 30, she is old enough to be responsible for herself. But, if she won't take care of her insurance, and if I need that to be able to sleep at night, then I pay what I am willing, and leave it to her to decide how she will spend her money. But, she will be getting notice that her dental coverage via Blue Cross of Mom has been cancelled. 8-)

Always great wisdom on these boards. Thank you.

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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by JBTX » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:17 pm

We have 16 year old daughter who has some issues and I wouldn’t be shocked if we were in same situation when she is 30.

My take is if you can afford it pay for the insurance, but don’t pay for anything else, and try not to otherwise meddle (which I fully appreciate as a parent is much easier said than done). I’d view the premium you pay as almost an insurance for you because if something catastrophic happened you would no doubt foot the bill.

Good luck.

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dm200
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by dm200 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:24 pm

I suppose that if you choose to pay for her insurance, and you/she pick a plan that has high copays, deductibles, out of pocket -- then YOU would be protected in case she encounters serious problems.

Then, if the issues are not serious or life threatening - she would be on the hook for paying - and, depending on the circumstances, you could decline to pay the bill. Tough love ...

it'smyjob?
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by it'smyjob? » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:45 pm

JBTX wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:17 pm
My take is if you can afford it pay for the insurance, but don’t pay for anything else, and try not to otherwise meddle (which I fully appreciate as a parent is much easier said than done). I’d view the premium you pay as almost an insurance for you because if something catastrophic happened you would no doubt foot the bill.
Good way of thinking about it, JBTX. People routinely buy underinsured motorist insurance in their car insurance to protect themselves from damages caused by others who don't have the proper insurance. As long as I know I could not stand by if my child needed medical care, this is no different.
Ditto, dm200.

Ironically, I just received the list of basic expenses from my DD in an email. (Her ears must have been ringing). Now comes the delicate job of pointing out that, even with the increased insurance cost, she should have a fair bit of discretionary income. Is that considered meddling, JBTX? :?
The problem is that she really has no clue what she spends on food. Even with the upper limit range of her estimated food budget, I know that she is way off. This is a delicate dance, indeed...

ENT Doc
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by ENT Doc » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:48 pm

Why not explicitly state that you will help through the next enrollment period and then payments stop, with zero help for anything coming thereafter? Stopping the dental payments is a nice shot across the bow to let her know you're serious. She's not being an adult and needs some tough love.

Katietsu
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by Katietsu » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:50 pm

Set up a separate checking account. Have the insurance premiums direct debited from the account. Otherwise, let her know that if she wants help with budgeting or retirement,she can come you. Let her know that you will not be helping with any bills except medical. Then, just let it go. The way things are now, you are doing nothing to change her behavior and are possibly creating a chasm in the relationship. I disagree that tough love with regards to insurance payments would change her behavior. Her behavior, especially with regards to forgoing health insurance is widespread and "normal" in her world. I even know a 30 year old nurse in NYC who decided to work per diem and go without health insurance to get a better hourly rate.

Many of us have been in this situation with kids, parents or siblings. I know someone who pays for a LTC policy for their parent. I had a brother who went 8 months without insurance. I was more stressed than he because I knew I would not let him go without life saving care should it come to that.
Last edited by Katietsu on Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JBTX
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by JBTX » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:00 pm

it'smyjob? wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:45 pm
JBTX wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:17 pm
My take is if you can afford it pay for the insurance, but don’t pay for anything else, and try not to otherwise meddle (which I fully appreciate as a parent is much easier said than done). I’d view the premium you pay as almost an insurance for you because if something catastrophic happened you would no doubt foot the bill.
Good way of thinking about it, JBTX. People routinely buy underinsured motorist insurance in their car insurance to protect themselves from damages caused by others who don't have the proper insurance. As long as I know I could not stand by if my child needed medical care, this is no different.
Ditto, dm200.

Ironically, I just received the list of basic expenses from my DD in an email. (Her ears must have been ringing). Now comes the delicate job of pointing out that, even with the increased insurance cost, she should have a fair bit of discretionary income. Is that considered meddling, JBTX? :?
The problem is that she really has no clue what she spends on food. Even with the upper limit range of her estimated food budget, I know that she is way off. This is a delicate dance, indeed...
It’s a tough question and one I fear we will be contemplating. Our daughter is smart but bipolar-ish and very impulsive with money (and everything else). Anything she has she immediately spends.

At 30 years old I am not sure how effective nagging will be - it’s not very effective at 16. It might be better to give her some basic financial books or get her to read and listen to Dave Ramsey. Perhaps tell her you will pay for the insurance premium if she agrees to do that. Even that may not work. I am quite sure at that age my tendency will be to meddle, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Katietsu
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by Katietsu » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:04 pm

If you want to help her get a better handle on her spending set her up with a budgetting app that automatically ties into her bank account. The only complication would be if she is a rare 30 year old who spends alot of cash.

delamer
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by delamer » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:06 pm

it'smyjob? wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:45 pm
JBTX wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:17 pm
My take is if you can afford it pay for the insurance, but don’t pay for anything else, and try not to otherwise meddle (which I fully appreciate as a parent is much easier said than done). I’d view the premium you pay as almost an insurance for you because if something catastrophic happened you would no doubt foot the bill.
Good way of thinking about it, JBTX. People routinely buy underinsured motorist insurance in their car insurance to protect themselves from damages caused by others who don't have the proper insurance. As long as I know I could not stand by if my child needed medical care, this is no different.
Ditto, dm200.

Ironically, I just received the list of basic expenses from my DD in an email. (Her ears must have been ringing). Now comes the delicate job of pointing out that, even with the increased insurance cost, she should have a fair bit of discretionary income. Is that considered meddling, JBTX? :?
The problem is that she really has no clue what she spends on food. Even with the upper limit range of her estimated food budget, I know that she is way off. This is a delicate dance, indeed...
Given that you are commited to covering the insurance premium (or a portion of it), I’d stay out of the rest of her finances. Based on my experience, it will cause you anxiety without changing her behavior.

It’s a difficult approach to take, I know. There is always that hope that you’ll find the right words and the light will go on for her. But much more likely is that you’ll just make yourself crazy trying.

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hand
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by hand » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:13 pm

it'smyjob? wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:58 pm

Our adult (30 yo) daughter has been almost completely financially independent since she graduated from college. We have helped with the occasional crunch or medical/dental bill, but this has not amounted to much.

Because she does not get health insurance through her work, she gets it through the NY exchange. This past June, she forgot to pay one bill, and was dropped from insurance.

I suggested she ask for a raise. But, in the meantime, we have conceded that we will help with the premiums. I said she must provide me with a list of her basic expenses for us to agree to help (and to determine how much we will help). I also suggested she sign up for mint.com and track her expenses for a while to see where her money is going. She has not yet done either one-as far as i know.

This is infuriating me. First, it is killing me that she won't wake up to the fact that she has money troubles.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to approach this? And please don't tell me to let her face the consequences of no insurance. She drives us nuts, but we do love her.
My condolences, this sure seems like a challenging situation.

Just cherry-picking a couple of interesting lines from the original post in my quote above, it sure seems there is a gap between the belief that your daughter is "almost completely financially independent" and the reality that she has chosen to remain dependent on you.

Path to independence will be more difficult if you are unwilling to let her make her own decisions and live with the results. It is unfortunate that it has gotten to the point where she chooses to have you pay for medical insurance, however understandable that you don't want to let your daughter's medical issues go untreated. A couple of ideas:

1) Have an open and honest discussion about her career failure - at 30, if she is not yet financially stable, it may be time to admit failure and move on to another career / company
2) Change your both your thought and words to make it clear to yourself and your daughter (and perhaps others if appropriate) that your daughter is not yet financially responsible
3) Repeated viewings of "Failure to Launch" at family events
4) A military career includes medical benefits!
5) Don't try to make her more responsible by taking away even more responsibilities - she is too old for you to be managing her budget or suggesting she ask for a raise!
6) Make it clear what sacrifices you are making to pay her bills
7) Lack of insurance does not mean lack of medical treatment, emergency services are still provided - perhaps a medical bankruptcy would help her grow up.

Good luck; if you find something that works, please do share back!

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dodecahedron
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by dodecahedron » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:24 pm

One thing worth noting: if you pay her medical expenses DIRECTLY yourself, then those amounts will not be subject to gift tax nor will they count against your annual (or lifetime) gift tax exclusion.

So, basically if you set up payments to her insurance provider from your checking account or your credit card, they won't be subject to gift taxes. The same is true if you decide to cover a large hospital or physician bill down the road--if you pay it yourself (as opposed to giving her the money and letting her pay it), then you do not have any gift tax issues to deal with.

Under some circumstances, she might even qualify as your "medical dependent" even if she is not your regular dependent on your 1040. (This could happen if she had big medical bills in a given year that you covered that constituted more than 50% of her support, even if she had too much gross income for you to claim her as your regular dependent. That would result in your being able to claim the medical expenses you paid on your schedule A and/or to be able to use your HSA funds to pay for her qualifying medical expenses.)

sciliz
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by sciliz » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:28 pm

it'smyjob? wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:45 pm

Ironically, I just received the list of basic expenses from my DD in an email. (Her ears must have been ringing). Now comes the delicate job of pointing out that, even with the increased insurance cost, she should have a fair bit of discretionary income. Is that considered meddling, JBTX? :?
The problem is that she really has no clue what she spends on food. Even with the upper limit range of her estimated food budget, I know that she is way off. This is a delicate dance, indeed...
My gestalt sense of her budget numbers is that she is far from Bogleheadish, but probably not reckless. In short, she's not atypical for her culture (and by "culture" I don't mean "those youngsters in NYC"- I mean "Americans" generally). The great thing about this form is hearing from so many people who got on course at later ages than 30! Just because I think you shouldn't try to "fix" her too much (gentle nudges are ok), doesn't mean she'll never choose another course. Or maybe she'll get a promotion and make enough money to cover frivolous orange juice.

One thing that comes across very strongly is your care and worry for her, and I think conveying that when you talk to her will itself nudge her a bit. If she doesn't know about your friend whose daughter had leukemia, it may help to make it clear that is part of why you are so worried about insurance.

(by the way- right now I have a cold and a fresh squeezed orange juice sounds so amazing I found it a remarkably uncompelling example of a "frivolous" expense. My boss was in NYC the other day and spent $18 per glass of wine though, which did properly horrify me :shock: That's kind of the point though- everyone has different priorities.)

PoppyA
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by PoppyA » Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:30 pm

Parents, please quit JUSTFYING Your parenting skills. Don’t let fear rule the day. You say you have modeled good financial behavior but I contend you have not if you are still supporting adult children in any way.

No matter how much you “help” your children are what they are. They may or may not EVER become financially savvy just because you think of yourself as savvy.

IMHO
"La Bella Luna"

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:07 pm

I would pay for the difference between what she would pay last year and this year premium. Skin in the game kind of idea. So I would make her pay the whole amount but you reimburse her for the difference. This way it incentivize her to buy health insurance. I’m not sure it has the same effect if you pay her insurance directly.
This year, I kicked both of my kids out of our car insurance, we were able to reduce our yearly car insurance to about $500, we would have paid $2800 for all 4, we were paying nearly $5000 a few years early. I gave each 6 months of premium for their new insurance to start them off. Basically nudge them toward adulthood.

it'smyjob?
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by it'smyjob? » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:53 pm

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:07 pm
I would pay for the difference between what she would pay last year and this year premium. Skin in the game kind of idea. So I would make her pay the whole amount but you reimburse her for the difference.
I think this is a good approach, but, I intend to have her pay some of the increase in cost. I plan to tell her I will do this for a year, as EntDoc suggests, as she adjusts to her increased costs.

[/quote]
sciliz wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:28 pm

My gestalt sense of her budget numbers is that she is far from Bogleheadish, but probably not reckless. In short, she's not atypical for her culture (and by "culture" I don't mean "those youngsters in NYC"- I mean "Americans" generally).
One thing that comes across very strongly is your care and worry for her, and I think conveying that when you talk to her will itself nudge her a bit. If she doesn't know about your friend whose daughter had leukemia, it may help to make it clear that is part of why you are so worried about insurance.
(by the way- right now I have a cold and a fresh squeezed orange juice sounds so amazing I found it a remarkably uncompelling example of a "frivolous" expense. My boss was in NYC the other day and spent $18 per glass of wine though, which did properly horrify me :shock: That's kind of the point though- everyone has different priorities.)
[/quote]
Thank you, sciliz. I agree with you and katietsu that her behavior is actually pretty typical. She does know about my friend's daughter, and has assured me that she will never let the insurance lapse again. She understands the importance for us. She is just balking at paying the bill since she is already having trouble living within her means. And I'll concede the Orange Juice :happy . Hope you feel better soon!

katietsu and delamer, you are right that all my efforts have done nothing to change her behavior, and only cause a greater rift in our relationship, and anxiety for me. It is hard to resist the urge since i think that she would be so much happier if she felt more in control of her finances. I did suggest (in an email) an app that would allow her to see where her money is going. I did not get a response. JBTX, I have offered to help her with a budget, etc. This has not been received with enthusiasm. As she does not think she has a problem, she is not ready to seek a solution, and is not about to start reading books on the subject. Maybe some day.

dodecahedron, thanks for the tax implications.

hand, she does not have a career failure. She makes double the median income for her age bracket. Her problem is her spending patterns.

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celia
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by celia » Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:43 pm

One of our financially independent kids had medical insurance, but it was an HMO that didn't cover the care they needed and they could not get the needed appointments or referrals within the "cheap-o" HMO. I offered to find a better plan (PPO) since that was what was needed. They could then barely afford the increased premiums, just barely. But if they couldn't afford it, I would pay (some or all of) the premiums automatically from my checking account.

I think our (Bogleheads') kids need to experience the value of insurance before they understand how important it is. After they have an "expensive" need and they see the bills that follow is when I think they start to come around. To them, the medical bills are not consistent payments each month, so they don't fit in their budget. But once they owe more than a month's pay for the care they needed, I think they then "get it" and it bumps up on their priority list.

Another way to make them aware of the need for medical insurance is to share a story of someone they know who was in a car accident or broke a bone or whatever. (It can even be you.) You don't really need to know that person's insurance situation, but saying things like, "that probably used up their maximum OOP expense for the year" or ""I hear that just the ambulance ride to the hospital these days now costs over $1,000" will give them something to attach to the situation in their mind. Somehow, connect mishaps with money and insurance and see how they re-act.

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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by ThePrince » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:00 pm

Nate79 wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:00 pm
Your daughter is acting like a child, not an adult. Adults take responsibility for their lives. If she can not live responsibly then your continuing to support her is not different than giving a drunk a drink.

Perhaps she needs to be introduced to programs such as Dave Ramsey.
+1

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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by ThePrince » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:09 pm

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:15 pm
A 30 year old is not a "child". It's time for some tough love, not enabling.
+1

deltaneutral83
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by deltaneutral83 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:47 pm

Eating out is not a priority over health ins, does not matter the city, age of child, etc. etc. This is certainly not something I would cater to at any age. #1 cause of BK in this country is medical bills. The risk outweighs the reward no question. This situation may certainly be difficult, but hardly complicated. I did get a chuckle out of the suggestion to inform the child that subsidizing now would come out of future inheritance, only on BH!

Saving$
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by Saving$ » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:53 pm

I'd second the Dave Ramsey suggestion if she would attend. The benefit is that she will meet people there who are also trying to better their financial habits. It is better to have those people in her social network than the ones whose spending habits are like hers or worse.

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Tamarind
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by Tamarind » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:29 pm

This independent 31 year old agrees that 30 is not a child. Esp not one with a perfectly adequate salary to enable independent living even in New York. Even with expensive orange juice. :mrgreen:

I think you might be better served by treating this as you would a young coworker who told you that they "couldn't" save. Of course you know better, but you wouldn't consider it your responsibility (or appropriate) to challenge their decision. Adults with different priorities will arrive at different decisions. Sounds like your daughter is not prioritizing insurance. Not the decision you or I would make, but not an uncommon one at all.

While you may still want to pay for insurance for your own piece of mind, make it as matter of fact as possible if you do so and don't use a gift that is really about assuaging your own risk to try to change her priorities. Even if you succeeded, you wouldn't exactly be modeling adult Independence, would you?

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Alexa9
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by Alexa9 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:42 pm

Budgeting is as simple as weight loss: eat less, move more
Spend less (food, housing, etc.), make more money
You hint that she has mental health issues which makes it a bit more understandable. Are you prepared yourself to support her financially indefinitely or will you cut her off eventually? Do you feel obligated to help the younger son equally?

it'smyjob?
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by it'smyjob? » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:33 pm

celia, I understand and agree with your approach to your own kid's situation. We have had talks like you suggest, and I think she does understand the value.

For those of you claiming that 30 is not a "child": no argument there. The title of my post refers to my daughter's relationship to me. This is common English usage and implies nothing further. Is she acting like a child? Yes, I'll give you that. I certainly agree that eating out is not a priority over health insurance. I have never stated that she can't afford the insurance. She had been paying for her insurance on her own up until the missed payment (and resulting cancellation of insurance). She never said she would forego insurance. I want to make sure that, in the face of this dramatic increase in cost, she doesn't choose that option. We all take risks. It's not unusual for someone to think the bad outcome just won't happen to them. How many smokers truly believe they are going to get lung cancer? Inability to evaluate risks is not limited to the young.
I view this as my own asset protection. If it enables her a bit in the process, that is unfortunate. But my priority is ensuring my own retirement and her access to decent medical care.

Tamarind wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:29 pm

I think you might be better served by treating this as you would a young coworker who told you that they "couldn't" save. Of course you know better, but you wouldn't consider it your responsibility (or appropriate) to challenge their decision. Adults with different priorities will arrive at different decisions. Sounds like your daughter is not prioritizing insurance. Not the decision you or I would make, but not an uncommon one at all.

While you may still want to pay for insurance for your own piece of mind, make it as matter of fact as possible if you do so and don't use a gift that is really about assuaging your own risk to try to change her priorities.
This is helpful, Tamarind. A little difficult to execute, as a parent, but helpful.

Alexa9, I said my daughter drives us crazy- not that she has mental health issues. I do not envision helping her with insurance payments forever. I do think that, when she moves on from her current job, she will consider benefits offered as an important part of the decision. My son does not need financial help. Do i feel that there should be equitable distribution of money now? I'm not sure about that. He has said he doesn't care. In actuality, we are not talking about much money in the short run. $250-$275 per month for a year. If, after a year, my daughter does not take over the payments entirely, I may feel differently. But, for now, this is my decision.

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slow n steady
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by slow n steady » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:27 am

I am younger than your daughter and find the situation laughable. She has shown you her basic expenses and is obviously using the money you will give her to subsidize her lifestyle.

If you don't cut her off after a year, when do you believe the subsidies will stop? What lesson are you really teaching her?

You have decided to help for one year. I would give it to her in lump sum and tell her the bank is closed. Let her know you will help her with financial information. I wouldn't offer her financial advice, it will make you upset when she doesn't follow it.

Good luck!

bigred77
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by bigred77 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:53 am

it'smyjob? wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:53 pm

hand, she does not have a career failure. She makes double the median income for her age bracket. Her problem is her spending patterns.
If she makes double the median income for her age bracket then 400 extra bucks a month shouldn’t break her. It’s her own fault she lost the previous insurance anyway because she paid late and got the policy canceled. This is the consequence.

It’s a simple issue of priorities. Health insurance clearly comes last for her because she can still pay for everything else she previously had in her life but not her new premiums. With the increased premium her total expenses just increased. They now appear to exceed her net income. She is now forced to reduce her total expenses to make her budget work and she is telling you the last thing she prioritizes and the first thing she would cut is her health insurance.

Think of the most frivolous thing she spends money on (in your opinion anyway). You are now going to be paying for that if you pay her insurance. Money is fungible and you are allowing her to live above her means. As an adult she should be spending less on wants in order to pay for her needs. You subsidizing her lets her choose not to do that. It also sends the message that she doesn’t need to do that because she can fall back on you. She’s already 30. When will it stop?

Let her make her own decisions and live with the consequences. If she foregoes medical insurance and needs medical care she will still be able to access it but it may force her into medical bankruptcy. You already said she has no savings so it’s just bad credit for a number of years if that happens. It’s not like the hospital is going to give her the bums rush if she needs care.

Katietsu
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by Katietsu » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:20 am

bigred77 wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:53 am


Let her make her own decisions and live with the consequences. If she foregoes medical insurance and needs medical care she will still be able to access it but it may force her into medical bankruptcy. You already said she has no savings so it’s just bad credit for a number of years if that happens. It’s not like the hospital is going to give her the bums rush if she needs care.

I do not want to sidetrack this thread. But please know that people do die from not being able to pay for healthcare. I live in an area where a significant number of working age adults did not have healthcare prior to the ACA. I have seen doctors cry because they had patients with life threatening but very treatable conditions (eg cancers & aneurysms) for whom they could not arrange for the needed care due to a lack of health insurance and an inability to pay.

Finridge
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by Finridge » Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:29 am

delamer wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:24 pm

Here's my suggestion -- assuming that the $620 a month is not a hardship for you, pay the premiums and arrange to do so directly, rather than by giving the money to her. Accept that they are a form of gift to your daughter and yourselves for her health and future, try not to dwell on her immaturity and on her inability to follow your example.

Refuse any other financial help that she requests.

Good luck.

EDIT: She does have you over a barrel, but to some extent the barrel is of your own making. We have created the same barrel with our child. But I would not let my child go without food, shelter, or good medical care as long as I can afford to provide them, so there you have it. I try to be glad that my child is taking care of the food and shelter part.
This is exactly what I would do.

Even if it is enabling her to be less responsible, you state that your own money is on the line if anything happens to her. I think that is exactly right. I know if one of my kids needed hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical care to survive cancer or something, and didn't have insurance, I'd drain all my accounts paying our of pocket, if that is what it took. I wouldn't see myself as having any other choice. I see that as my burden as a parent, no matter how stupid and irresponsible my kid was.

But looking at this way, paying for medical insurance is protection for YOU as much as for her.

Yukon
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by Yukon » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:40 am

Why not have her utilize one of the healthcare ministry options? Liberty Share, Medi-share, etc?
Don't Work Forever.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Financial Assistance to Adult Child (health insurance)

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:08 am

OP, I have great sympathy for your situation. I have a 27-year old that is not financially independent now, although he was for a while before returning to college. I often remind myself that there are parents with much greater heartaches, and try to look on the bright side.

A therapist friend says that 35 is the new 21.

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