Is health insurance cheaper when you're married?
You Just Got Married - Now It’s Time to Consider Insurance
The wedding ceremony and reception are over. The champagne has been poured and drunk. The bouquet tossed. Time for the guests to go home and you and your loved one to settle in as a married couple. But alas! Married life isn’t all cake and roses; it’s also backed-up toilets, water bills, and, of course, insurance.
You and your spouse will want to talk about car insurance, life insurance, and of course, health insurance. You may be surprised to learn that being married brings more perks than just spending life with your best friend. Now that you’ve tied the knot, you’re eligible for exciting new ventures — like exploring the varying health insurance rates that often come with marriage.
In this article, we’ll answer the question: Is health insurance cheaper when married? We’ll also offer some things to consider when reviewing your insurance options with your spouse. That way, you can make an informed decision about how to get medical coverage.
Is Health Insurance Cheaper When You’re Married?
While we would love to tell you that you’ll save money on your health insurance once you’re married, the truth is, it really depends on your existing coverage (if you have it) and the options available to you. You’ll need to review your policy and figure out:
- Are you both insured under different employer-sponsored health insurance?
- Do your respective employers offer spousal coverage?
- Would it be more cost-effective to maintain separate policies or get on your spouse’s plan?
What to Consider When Changing Health Insurance Plans
Understandably, navigating your health insurance options can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, we’ve got a few details on what you should review and talk through with your partner.
Employee Insurance Policies
Before you can decide how to proceed, you need to determine which of your company’s health plans is best. You and your beloved should gather the following information about your employer’s family coverage so that you can compare them head-to-head:
- Premium cost per paycheck
- Percentage or dollar amount of the premium the company covers
- Out-of-pocket maximum
- Copays or coinsurance
- Access to an HSA or other tax-advantaged account
- In-network providers and facilities
- Special perks like telemedicine, a 24/7 nurse line, or a wellness program
- The reputation of and satisfaction with the health insurance provider
You should also rate how well each plan fits your medical care needs. Is there a clear winner emerging that caters to both of you? If so, you have your answer.
Related Reading: Do you know how to read your proof of insurance so you can review all these elements? Learn how today!
Separate Policy Costs
While many married couples or those in domestic partnerships combine health insurance, no one says you have to do so. In fact, in some cases, your best move may be to maintain separate policies.
If the coverage and policy perks are about equal for both plans, it may all come down to the cost of the insurance itself. Remember to factor in how much you’ve spent on health care so far this year. If one of you has already met your deductible or out-of-pocket costs maximum (or is close to it), keeping separate health insurance until open enrollment may make sense.
Likewise, if your healthcare needs differ greatly, you might want to keep your individual plans indefinitely. Someone in good health who rarely sees a doctor and doesn’t take expensive prescription medication could save money on premiums by enrolling in a high-deductible health plan. Conversely, a person with a chronic medical condition may be financially better off opting for a low-deductible policy with higher monthly premiums.
Open Enrollment Periods
Generally, you need to wait until your company’s annual open enrollment to make changes to your health insurance plan. However, getting married is considered a qualifying life event (yet another perk of marriage!), which opens up a limited, special enrollment period.
During this special enrollment period, you have 60 days from your wedding date to modify your health insurance coverage. You can add your spouse to your policy or join their plan.
If you miss the deadline, you’ll have to wait until the next open enrollment to update your policies. Fortunately, if one of you is uninsured, you have some options. You can purchase critical illness or accident coverage to bridge the gap in the meantime.
Important Note: If one of you is self-employed (or your employer doesn’t offer insurance), the window to modify a plan purchased on the Health Insurance Marketplace through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is also 60 days from the date of the qualifying life event. If you get healthcare this way, open enrollment starts November 1st.
Pros and Cons of Combining Health Insurance Policies
As newlyweds, you may just be beginning to fully merge your lives, including personal finances. But before you commit to being on the same health insurance policy, it’s great to take a minute or two to think about whether it makes the most sense for you.
Potential Pros of Choosing One Health Insurance Policy
- Premium cost savings through a multi-person discount
- Less paperwork to complete (especially at open enrollment)
- Easier tracking of plan details, usage, and financial responsibility
- Better coverage for the switching spouse
- Employer incentive for the switching spouse
- Pre-tax premiums (if one spouse was on a non-employer-sponsored plan)
Potential Cons of Choosing One Health Insurance Policy
- Some employers charge a spousal surcharge if your spouse can access a plan through their work
- Double the deductible and out-of-pocket maximum
- Only one health savings account (HSA) that the primary policyholder owns
- Policyholder job loss means both spouses lose coverage
- Failure to meet the medical needs of the switching spouse
- Difficulty finding a suitable plan for both spouses when it’s time to make a change
Pro Tip: Every employer’s health insurance plan is different. Before deciding, speak with your respective human resources departments or insurance provider to see how your specific spousal coverage works.
Easily Organize Your Health Insurance with Marble
Your medical care expenses may actually decrease when you get married, but that’s not always the case. In some instances, it’s best for your well-being, bank account, or both to keep the individual health insurance you had before tying the knot.
Whatever you decide, you can count on Marble. With Marble, you can organize all your insurance policies, including your healthcare, while earning rewards just for being insured. Sign up today!
Related Reading: While we hope every married couple remains happy together forever, we know that’s not always the reality. So, if you’re getting divorced, here’s how to update your insurance to reflect this new chapter in your life.