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Dependent Coverage

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Michigan Office of Retirement Services

Dependent Coverage

Dependent Coverage

Eligible dependents for health, prescription drug, dental, and vision insurance plans include:

  • Your spouse. If they are an eligible public school retiree, you will be covered together on one contract.
  • Your child until the end of the month in which they turn 26. In the case of legal adoption, a child is eligible for coverage as of the date of placement. Placement occurs when you become legally obligated for the total or partial support of the child in anticipation of adoption.
  • Your child by legal guardianship until age 26.
  • Your child who is totally and permanently disabled, dependent on you for support, and unable to self-sustain employment. See coverage for disabled dependents below for more information.
  • Either your parent(s) or parent(s)-in-law residing in your household - one set of parents or the other, but not both. 

Coverage for your eligible dependents is the same as yours. Note: Your stepchild is not eligible for coverage. 

You are responsible for immediately notifying the Michigan Office of Retirement Services (ORS) of any change in your status or that of your dependents that would affect insurance eligibility. If it is discovered that an ineligible person is covered by you, that person will be terminated retroactively, and you may be responsible for repaying any claims made on their behalf.

Required proof(s) for coverage

You will be asked to provide photocopies of the following:

  • Government-issued marriage certificate or matching addresses on valid driver's licenses and most recent tax Form 1040 showing filing married. 
  • Government-issued birth certificates as proof of age and relationship.
  • Court orders to prove legal guardianship (if applicable).
  • Driver's license or tax returns as proof of residence for your parent(s) or parent(s)-in-law.

These documents are referred to as proofs, proving your eligibility for coverage. Learn more here about the required proofs you may need to submit to enroll a spouse or dependent in insurance. You can also view this short dependent eligibility proofs e-learning module

Note: The time frame to submit enrollment request and proofs for your spouse and dependents is the same as enrolling yourself in insurances

Coverage for disabled dependents

To ensure coverage for your incapacitated child, you will need to provide:

  • A current letter from the attending physician detailing the disability, stating the child is:
    • Totally and permanently disabled.
    • Incapable of self-sustaining employment.
  • IRS Form 1040 that identifies the child as your dependent.

Coverage for a disabled dependent can begin the first of the month after ORS approves their eligibility, so it is important to provide documentation as early as possible. In some cases, we may ask for additional information to determine medical eligibility. This may delay enrollment.

Note: The time frame to submit enrollment request and proofs for your spouse and dependents is the same as enrolling yourself in insurances

Additional notes about insurance for your spouse, dependents

COBRA insurance

A federal law known as Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), allows your spouse or child the option of paying for continued health insurance coverage for up to 36 months after a qualifying event that results in the loss of eligibility. Your health insurance carrier may also offer a conversion policy for the dependents. Your dependents will be notified of these options by the health insurance carrier. Contact the insurance carrier for more information. 

Survivor coverage

If you choose a survivor option for your pension and you have the premium subsidy benefit, your designated pension beneficiary can enroll in or continue group insurances after your death. If you choose your spouse as your survivor pension beneficiary, your eligible dependents who were covered at the time of your death will also continue to receive insurance benefits as long as they remain eligible.

If you choose a survivor option for your pension and you have the Personal Healthcare Fund, any eligible beneficiaries and dependents who were already enrolled in insurance plans at the time of your death may continue to be enrolled in those insurance plans and they will continue to be responsible for the entire premium. If they terminate the plan at any time, they will not be able to reenroll.


If you divorce, your former spouse's coverage ceases as of the end of the month in which the divorce occurs. They may be eligible for COBRA continuation, however.

If you are covered under your spouse's plan at the time of divorce, and lose coverage, it is considered a qualifying event. Find more information about qualifying events and enrollment time frames here.