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Whether you can cover a non-spouse depends on your relationship and on the rules of your company's health plan.

States often mandate that employer-sponsored group health insurance plans provide benefits for domestic partners if they provide them for spouses. Employers who are self-insured aren't subject to state insurance mandates, but many of them also provide domestic partner benefits. Some employer-sponsored plans may also let you insure your domestic partner's children.

One question that can play a vital role in whether you can cover your girlfriend is whether your relationship meets the requirements of a domestic partnership. Generally to qualify as domestic partners you must have lived together for at least six months and plan to continue living together indefinitely. Other requirements may include sharing financial responsibility for basic living expenses and sharing a close personal relationship in which you're responsible for each other's welfare.

Also, you can't be married to anyone else, and your domestic partner can't be a close blood relative.

Read your employer's benefits policy or talk to the employee benefits manager about the company's dependent eligibility rules. If you can include your girlfriend and her son on your health insurance plan, be prepared to sign an affidavit and provide evidence about your relationship.

Don't fudge the truth. Companies are taking a hard look at dependents to make sure no one is unfairly receiving health insurance benefits and to keep health care costs down. Many companies conduct dependent eligibility audits to make sure people listed as dependents qualify for coverage under the rules.

Some employers pay a portion of the premium for dependents, but others require employees to foot the entire premium for their dependents. If your girlfriend and son qualify as dependents on your company's plan, find out how much you'll have to pay so you can prepare for the reduction in your paycheck.