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As the big day fast approaches, you and your soon-to-be spouse have more than enough on your plate. From changes in the wedding ceremony to unexpected last-minute RSVPs for the reception, the last thing on your mind is health insurance.

It might not be on your mind before the wedding, but it should be front and center soon after the nuptials.

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010, the primary goal of the legislation was to get Americans to sign up for health insurance coverage during an open enrollment period. After several changes to the initial law, the ACA now includes legal language that allows Americans to enroll in health insurance plans during special enrollment periods.

Employees have the opportunity to change their health insurance coverage during the annual open enrollment period. However, several qualifying life events allow some employees to make changes during special enrollment periods. Marriage is one of the qualifying life events, which means that if you are soon to be married, the time has come to discuss health insurance changes with your partner.

How Does Marriage Influence My Health Insurance Options?

According to the ACA, marriage is considered a Qualifying Life Event (QLE) for a special enrollment period. During a special enrollment period, you have the opportunity to enroll in an ACA-acceptable health insurance plan offered by an employer or through the ACA-backed marketplace.

A special enrollment period spans 60 days following a QLE such as marriage. During the 60-day special enrollment period, you can add your spouse to your plan, join your spouse’s plan, or enroll in a new health insurance plan. If you fail to meet the 60-day deadline that is established by the special enrollment period, you have to wait until the next enrollment period. To cover the gap in health insurance, you can enroll in a short-term health insurance plan.

The ACA-mandated open enrollment period for 2022 runs from November 1, 2021, to December 15, 2021.

Can I Buy a Marketplace Plan If My Spouse is Enrolled in an Employer Plan?

Just because you recently exchanged vows does not mean you have to buy health insurance from your spouse’s employer. Some employer-sponsored health insurance policies cost more than policies that are listed in the ACA-backed health insurance marketplace.

However, you might have to pay additional costs to purchase health insurance through the marketplace exchange. This is especially true if you have access to the health insurance plan set up by your spouse’s employer. For example, you might not qualify for ACA subsidies if you decide not to enroll in the health insurance plan offered by your spouse’s employer.

What Are the Health Insurance Options for Recently-Married Couples?

After the Thank You cards go out, the time has come to review your options when it comes to health insurance.

Add a Spouse to Employer’s Plan

Because adding a spouse to an employer’s plan does not take much time, it has become the most popular option for newly married partners to enroll in a health insurance plan. However, you want your spouse to ask about the cost of employee and spouse health insurance coverage before signing on the dotted line.

Sign Up for a Plan on the Marketplace Exchange

Because you cannot receive a subsidy for signing up for your spouse’s plan, you might find a more affordable plan on the marketplace exchange. Research different options to find a plan that matches the coverage needs of both partners, as well as helps you stay within your monthly healthcare budget.

Split the Difference

“Split” is not a popular word for married couples, especially newly married couples. Yet, split is a popular word for finding the most affordable and comprehensive health insurance plan for both you and your spouse. Option number three involves your spouse remaining signed up with the employer’s plan, while you search for an individual policy on the marketplace exchange. 

Married couples can sign up for separate health insurance plans. Just makes sure the cost savings do not compromise your health insurance coverage.

Use Insurance Broker Hub: Tie the Knot, Stay Healthy

Marriage is a long-term commitment that requires making tough financial decisions. Signing up for the best health insurance plan can mean different things to different married couples. After the confetti falls and the bells stop ringing on the honeymoon car, you will have to make several tough financial decisions that will have an impact on both you and your spouse for years to come.

Luckily, if you’re looking for advice and options for health insurance when getting married, look no further than Insurance Broker Hub. Our free service gives you access to an independent network of national brokers who have the experience and expertise to design a plan around your needs and budget. Ready to get started? Simply request a no obligation health insurance quote here.