Updated: June 5, 2019
Getting married allows for a special enrollment period.
As one of your newlywed “firsts,” you’ll want to evaluate your coverage options so that you find a health plan that works for you and your spouse. You can usually only enroll in a new health plan during the open enrollment period, which typically happens during the fall and winter months. However, marriage is a qualifying life event which allows for a special enrollment period. This means you’re able to make changes to your health plan 60 days after tying the knot. If you’re planning on switching to a new health plan, be sure to have your marriage license handy and double check timing with your health insurer(s) so you don’t get caught without coverage during the transition period.
How to get started:
When browsing through the different coverage options, there are a few things you should take into consideration, such as you and your new spouse’s current health status and coverage situation. Make sure to keep these things in mind while comparing insurance plans:
- Number of family doctor visits per year
- Prescription medications
- Dental, vision or specialist coverage
- Whether you want to keep your current doctor or change providers
- Deductible, monthly premium and out-of-pocket costs
- Medical history on both sides of the family
- Family planning
Ask about a job based family plan.
If you’re both covered through your employers, you may be able to add your spouse to your plan or join theirs. Joint plans may be a good option since you’ll be more likely to reach your deductible if both your health expenses count toward a single amount. Be proactive and meet with your company’s human resource manager about the costs and benefits of this option.
See if you qualify for a subsidy.
If you’re looking to compare individual health plan benefits and pricing while shopping, the Marketplace is a great resource. If you’re currently enrolled on the Marketplace, it’s important to update your account to reflect new changes like shared incomes or changes in residence as these could affect your premium rate or subsidy eligibility. If you’re eligible for a subsidy through the Marketplace, you may be able to get the same coverage you’re used to and pay less per month.
Shop directly from a trusted health insurance company.
If employer-sponsored coverage isn’t an option and you don’t qualify for a subsidy through the Marketplace, consider shopping for a plan directly through a health insurance company. When you’re ready to enroll, you should also take note of all that’s included in your plan. It’s common for health insurance companies to have added benefits like gym membership discounts, exercise rewards or tools to manage health care costs.
Keep your current plan.
Depending on the situation, it might make the most sense for you and your spouse to each keep your separate coverage. If you’re both happy with your current plans and all that’s included, this option may be right for you. This could also give you more time to see if your expenses or health care needs change before the next open enrollment period.
Whatever option you choose, the most important thing is that you’re both covered. Remember to consider the costs and desired plan benefits as you compare coverage to find a plan that suits your health needs and budget. If you have questions, call your company’s human resource manager, a trusted health insurance company or a licensed insurance agent to help you choose the right coverage.
When preparing to commit to each other, don’t forget to do the same with a health plan that works best for both of you.