Recently married or about to tie the knot? As you plan your wedding and your future, remember to include health insurance coverage for you and your spouse. Health insurance helps protect your health and your finances by providing benefits for expected and unexpected medical expenses.
If you are healthy, on a tight budget, and without job-based health insurance benefits, it may be tempting to opt out of health insurance coverage for a little while. Unfortunately, circumstances can change in an instant. It costs as much as $7,500 to fix a broken leg, and the average 3-day hospital stay is around $30,000.1
Ouch. Health insurance benefits can help lower what you pay out of pocket in these situations.
Fortunately, newlyweds who do not have access to health insurance benefits through an employer have several coverage options to accommodate their health care needs and financial situations.
1. Obamacare health insurance
Getting married is a life event that makes you eligible to buy health insurance outside of the Obamacare open enrollment. You and your spouse qualify for a special enrollment period that lasts 60 days from the date you say “I do.”
You can buy Obamacare health insurance plans through a state-based or federally facilitated health insurance exchange, as well as from an agent or health insurance company in the private marketplace. Keep in mind: If you qualify for a premium tax credit and wish to take advantage of the savings, you must purchase health insurance coverage from a state-based or federally facilitated health insurance exchange and apply for the subsidy.
2. Your spouse’s job-based health insurance coverage
If your spouse has health insurance coverage through his or her employer, you may be eligible for his or her workplace plan. Investigate this option promptly because these job-based special enrollment periods may last as few as 30 days. Your spouse should contact his or her human resources department or benefits enrollment specialist for details.
3. A parent’s health insurance plan
This option only applies if you are younger than age 26. Under the Affordable Care Act, you may be covered by a parent’s health insurance plan until your 26th birthday. You may be married. You may have access to your spouse’s health insurance plan. You may even have access to Obamacare health insurance through your own workplace. It doesn’t matter; you can maintain health insurance coverage through a parent. This applies to a parent’s job-based health insurance plan as well as health insurance plans purchased through state and federal exchanges and in the private marketplace.
If you earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level and live in a state that expanded its Medicaid program, you may be eligible for free or low-cost health insurance coverage.2 Visit your state’s health insurance exchange or Medicaid.gov to find out if you qualify and fill out an application. Medicaid enrollment lasts year-round.
5. Short-term medical insurance
You can obtain temporary health insurance coverage, known as short-term medical insurance, for as few as 30 days. Although these plans are not considered minimum essential health coverage, they often have lower monthly premiums than Obamacare plans and include benefits to help pay for medical care related to hospitalization and surgery—some plans even include a few preventive services. Short-term medical plans can be a smart option for those who:
- Missed Obamacare open enrollment
- Plan to be briefly uninsured
- Are waiting for a job-based or Obamacare health insurance plan to take effect
- Prefer to pay the shared responsibility tax payment for opting out of qualified health insurance coverage
Why expose yourself to potentially high medical bills, even for a few weeks? Within minutes, you can apply for and enroll in short-term medical insurance online.
Don’t forget your teeth
You may not be required to have dental insurance, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook it. Oral health is important to overall health, and studies show that those with dental insurance are more likely to visit the dentist.3 Dental insurance plans often cost less than people think and include steeply discounted or free preventive care, as well as benefits that help reduce the cost of basic and major services such as fillings and root canals.
You may have access to dental insurance coverage through your job or your spouse’s job. You can also buy it in the private marketplace through an agent or a website such as Health eDeals.