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In Sickness and in Health: Your Health Insurance Options After You Get Married

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First of all, congratulations on your marriage! Health insurance might not seem like the most romantic topic of discussion for newlyweds, but it’s important that you take the time to talk through your options so you are both protected from financial risk in the case of serious illness.

The good news is, you have a few options after you tie the knot. You can change your health insurance by adding your spouse to your current plan (or the other way around) or by enrolling in a new plan through your employer or the Health Insurance Marketplace (healthcare.gov or state exchange, based on where you live).

Some couples prefer to be on the same plan since some plans offer discounts to married couples and combining insurance can make it easier to hit your deductible. However, if one of you has a serious medical condition, combining your insurance plan could raise the rates of the other spouse.

So what are your options? We’ve outlined some of them now that you’ve tied the knot:

Option 1: Add your spouse to your company’s group plan

If one of you has insurance through your employer, check with your HR department to find out if your plan covers your spouse and how much the joint coverage is. You will need to think about whether the cost makes sense for you, and then see if this plan is a good fit for your spouse. While you evaluate, make sure that you check to see if your preferred providers are in-network and calculate costs like how much any of your regular prescriptions will be per month. This will give you a good idea of whether this employer plan is a good fit for your new family.

Option 2: Look for a new plan on the Marketplace  

Great news is that getting married is a qualifying life event – this means you can enroll in a plan through healthcare.gov or your state insurance Marketplace outside the annual Open Enrollment period (this year it’s Nov.1, 2015- Jan. 31, 2016). If you decide to go this route, you must select a plan for your family within 60 days of getting married. The same time frame is usually true of making changes to employer plans.

If you don’t have insurance through your employer or the provided plan is not affordable, shop around to see if qualify for a better rate or a better plan on the Marketplace. But, remember that if you have employer-provided insurance and your spouse previously received subsidies through the Marketplace to offset the cost of their plan, your employer’s plan might now disqualify your spouse from receiving a subsidy.

Option 3: Keep your coverage as is

You might already be in a great spot with your current coverage. If that’s the case, just keep everything the same. If one or both of you are on a plan purchased through the Marketplace, don’t forget to update your marital status and income on the Marketplace website to make sure you continue receiving the right amount of assistance (subsidy) to help you pay for your health insurance and avoid paying back any subsidy you no longer qualify for after the wedding.

Be sure to figure out the best health strategy for both of you within 60 days of tying the knot to make sure all of these options are available to you. And as always, you can visit TurboTax Health for all of your health coverage questions.

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