Hitching Your Wagons: A Brief Healthcare Guide for Newlyweds

Newlyweds have a lot of options when it comes to their healthcare, and we've put together a quick guide to help you make informed, intelligent decisions.

Congratulations on your big day! Getting married or entering into a domestic partnership is an exciting time in a couples’ lives together, but it also prompts a lot of major life decisions, not the least of which is how you want to approach your healthcare. Newlyweds and domestic partners often have a lot of questions when it comes to their health insurance and which network to join, but we’ve distilled the conversation into a few key talking points that you can review together.

Marriage and Domestic Partnerships Are a Qualifying Life Event

Many newlyweds and domestic partners are unaware that getting married or certifying your partnership is considered a Qualifying Life Event during Special Enrollment, which means that you and your spouse or partner are eligible to purchase healthcare even if you were married outside of the regular Open Enrollment period (November 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017). You and your spouse or domestic partner have 60 days from the date that you signed your marriage license or certification to purchase or change your plan(s). Additionally, during this timeframe, you can take advantage of financial assistance that could save you and your spouse or partner as much as $263 on your monthly premium.

Shopping on the Health Insurance Marketplace

You and your spouse or partner are not required to purchase a plan on Covered California, but doing so could save you a substantial amount of money. Married couples and domestic partners who earn between $15,730 and $63,920 annually will likely qualify for reduced monthly premiums purchased from Covered California. The lower the income, the more you will save, but those who are eligible for insurance through their employers do not qualify for those savings. Additionally, one key benefit of Covered California plans is that they must all meet 10 essential care requirements, which should prove especially helpful if you are planning on starting a family:

  1. Outpatient care
  2. Emergency room visits
  3. Inpatient treatment
  4. Prenatal and newborn care
  5. Mental health and substance abuse services
  6. Prescription drugs
  7. Injury, disability, and chronic condition services and devices, such as physical therapy and psychiatric rehab
  8. Lab work
  9. Preventive services, such as screenings and vaccinations
  10. Pediatric care, including dental and vision care

Sharing an Employee Health Insurance Plan

If your spouse or partner has quality health insurance through their employer, you might want to consider opting for joint coverage. Before doing so, however, check to make sure that adding a family member is affordable, that you can continue to visit your doctor of choice, and that certain health benefits such as maternity care and prescription drug coverage are included.

Getting Started

When considering purchasing health insurance for you and your spouse or domestic partner, the first thing you should do is contact a local health insurance broker who can help provide insight about your options within the Bay Area and determine your potential eligibility for financial assistance. If you’re thinking about joining your spouse’s or partner’s plan, simply contact the company’s human resources manager to learn more about the details and to have them walk you through the opt-in process. Whatever route you decide to go, remember that you only have 60 days from the date of signing your marriage license or domestic partnership certificate to purchase health insurance, so don’t delay!

Canopy Health Has You Covered!

The Canopy Health alliance is composed of nearly 5,000 physicians and 18 hospitals across 8 Bay Area Counties, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, and Solano. We believe in comprehensive care with transparent and seamless communication along with competitive pricing structures.