Just Married: How to Buy Health Insurance Together
Signing up for a new health insurance plan isn’t the most romantic thing in the world, but it’ll help get your marriage off to a good start. You'll save money and feel safe knowing that your medical needs are covered. The good news? Getting married is a qualifying life event for Special Enrollment Period (SEP), so you can sign up for your new plan outside of Open Enrollment without paying a penalty.
Here’s what you need to know about getting health insurance for two:
You need to have an honest conversation
Communication is the foundation of any good relationship, especially when it comes to finding a health insurance plan that’s a good fit for both of you. Talking in-depth about each other’s medical needs and wants will make finding a plan that much easier.
SEP gives you 60 days
Because getting legally married is a qualifying life event in the eyes of the government, you will be able to change health insurance plans anytime during the year... as long as you do so within 60 days from the day you got married.
Health insurance tip: Keep in mind that you have a photo of your marriage license handy because your health insurance plan will ask you for proof of marriage.
You can add your new spouse to your current plan
You don’t have to get a new plan altogether. If you or your spouse has an amazing plan, you can always add the other to the existing plan.
Health insurance tip: Adding someone on to your plan will increase your monthly health insurance costs (a.k.a. your premium) and it might increase your deductible and out-of-pocket max costs. Even if you like an existing plan, it’s still a good idea to shop around just in case there’s a better plan out there.
Check in-network doctor and hospital/clinics lists per health plan
If either of you has a favorite doctor or specialist, then it'll be good to check which health plans they are contracted with and choose from those health insurance plans.
Health insurance tip: Call and verify their contract with that particular health plan. Unfortunately, these lists are often out of date or inaccurate.
You can save even more $$$
Many middle to low-income adults qualify for a government discount on health plans. Depending on the state that you live in and how much income you both bring in together, you could potentially save hundreds a month.
Health insurance tip: Do you or your spouse have a prescription drug that you know is going to always have a hefty price? Compare the cost of the prescription to the deductibles and out-of-pocket max costs. If the cost is close or more, then it actually makes more financial sense to go with a lower premium and higher deductible plan.