Getting married? Here’s how to update your insurance.
Planning a wedding can feel like juggling that new fine china set you just added to your registry. By the time the big day comes and goes, you’re ready to unwind on a beach somewhere and think of how to spend all those gift cards you ended up with. But there’s still plenty to do after saying “I Do” (that’s the last marriage joke, we promise).
Getting married is considered a “Qualifying Life Event,” allowing you to make changes to your current insurance coverage or enroll in a new plan without having to wait for a regular enrollment period. Even if you think you won’t have any changes to make, it’s important to consider your options.
Compare Plan Options
There’s no rule that you and your spouse must be on the same health insurance plan after you’re married, though there may be financial benefits to sharing a plan. If you’re enrolled in separate plans, you should compare them to see if makes more sense to share one or keep the coverage you have.
Some things to consider and compare:
-Monthly premiums: Would changing plans make your premiums more expensive?
-Annual deductibles: Does one plan have a lower deductible than the other?
-In-network options: Are the doctors you prefer in the network for the plan? Does one plan have better options for hospitals or ER visits? If you’re planning a family, does one plan have better benefits for pregnancy and childbirth care?
-Additional options: Does either plan offer options like disability or accident insurance? Or reimbursement accounts to help you save on eligible medical costs?
Even if you decide to keep your respective policies, you should alert your HR department in case there’s paperwork that needs to be updated or you need new cards due to a name change. And if you already participate in a reimbursement account, there are federal rules that dictate how or if your spouse is covered by that account, even if you’re on different medical plans. Learn more about the spouse rules for Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts (Healthcare FSAs) or Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
Update Beneficiary Information
As we’ve written before, keeping your beneficiary details updated is important! Reviewing and updating these details after major life events helps ensure your benefits go to your loved ones as you intended. If you already have your spouse as a beneficiary for your policies, you may still need to update the policy if your spouse changes their name after the wedding.
Before You Take the Plunge
If you or your spouse are planning to change names, try to finish that process first so you can update your identification cards and bank accounts. Then, if you make any insurance changes, you or your spouse can use your new name instead of having to make changes again later. Generally, you have about sixty days after your wedding to make any health insurance changes, but be sure to check your plan details or with your HR representative.
Happily Ever After
Whether you spent months planning every last detail of your ceremony or ran off to Vegas for the weekend, you’re probably excited to begin your married life. However, post-wedding life comes with a lot of paperwork and decisions. Taking the time to figure your health insurance options as a couple will make it easier when it’s time to actually use those benefits (for a baby, maybe) and could even help you save money in the long run.
This blog is up to date as of May 2021 and has not been updated for changes in the law, administration or current events.