Generally, you can only enroll in a health insurance plan during open enrollment or during a special enrollment period brought about by a qualifying event. Both marriage and divorce are considered qualifying events. Understanding when you are eligible to make changes is key to avoiding high-cost health insurance coverage or paying medical bills on your own.
How Can You Change Your Health Insurance If You Marry?
If your qualifying event is marriage, you can change your health insurance in any of several ways:
- Cancel your coverage if you are now covered by your spouse’s plan.
- Add new dependents to your policy.
- Enroll in a new plan for both you and your spouse.
How Can You Change Your Health Insurance If You Divorce?
If you divorce, legally separate, or have your marriage annulled, you:
- Must remove your former spouse from your health insurance policy.
- May not remove dependents from your policy unless they are covered by your former spouse’s policy.
- May change your coverage if your dependents lost coverage in the separation or divorce.
- May enroll in new coverage if you lost coverage in the divorce or separation.
How Do You Make Health Insurance Changes During a Special Enrollment?
If you are shopping for a health insurance plan on the marketplace and you qualify for special enrollment based on the screening questions, you can obtain a policy or make changes to an existing policy either online or by phone. Be prepared to show documentation to support your eligibility for special enrollment.
If you have health insurance through your employer, contact the health insurance administrator for your company and tell her or him about your situation. The administration can confirm that you are eligible for special enrollment and help you make the necessary changes. It is likely that you will need to provide proof of the qualifying event, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree.
Is There a Time Limit for Changing Health Insurance after Marriage or Divorce?
Special enrollment periods have limits, normally 60 days after the triggering event (marriage or divorce) with a marketplace plan and 30 days after the triggering event with a workplace plan.
When Will My Health Insurance Changes Go Into Effect?
In most cases, changes go into effect on the first of the month following the triggering event, or the date you reported the event and sought coverage or changes. However, a cancellation may go into effect on the last day of the month after the triggering event.
Should I Speak with an Agent about My Health Insurance Coverage?
Dealing with health insurance changes after marriage or divorce can be daunting. Although having health insurance is no longer mandated for individuals, it is important to help protect your family’s health.
If you have recently married or dissolved your marriage and have questions about changes to your health insurance, our experienced agency can provide the professional assistance you need.