Should I Get Married for Health Insurance?
When You Shouldn’t Get Married For Health Insurance
Getting married for health insurance is a financial decision. Your doing it to save money on your health care needs and protecting yourself financially if something catastrophic happens. There are some situation where it’s not beneficial to get married for health insurance. Marriage could end up costing you way more money than you would save on coverage.
Partner is in Debt
If the person you are marrying has a bad habit of spending money or is racking up school debt, then it probably isn’t a good idea to marry for health insurance. After you marry, any debt that your spouse accumulates becomes your debt. The last thing you want is to save money on healthcare, but become responsible for your partners massive debt. So make sure you evaluate all the financial risks of marrying before you choose to get married for health insurance.
You Qualify for Medicaid
You should also make sure you don’t qualify for free insurance through Medicaid. If you have a low income, are disable, or are pregnant you should make sure you don’t qualify for Medicaid before you marry for health insurance. There is no better coverage than Medicaid. It’s free healthcare. They may also give you health incentive rewards, provide transportation to the doctor, and some will even throw a birthday party for your child. You can’t do better than Medicaid. Plus if you qualify for Medicaid you likely qualify for WIC benefits if you are pregnant or have a child under five years old. WIC gives you vouchers for free nutritional food during and after pregnancy, as well as free formula for infants. So make sure before you get married for health insurance, that you don’t qualify for Medicaid.
No Future Together
Finally, don’t get married for health insurance if you can’t see yourself with your partner in the long run. Divorce is expensive and can get messy. It can divide your assets and might cost you much more money than you would’ve saved by having health insurance. Marriage should be a long-term commitment between two people who want to share a life together. Gaining access to your partner’s health insurance should be a benefit of marriage, not the reason for marriage.
When You Should Get Married For Health Insurance
If you are in a committed relationship and want to be with your partner for reasons other than health insurance then it may be beneficial to marry. You should always make sure you share similar financial goals. Also make sure that you have weighed the pros and cons of marriage and are confident your partner will not put you at risk financially. And not to state the obvious, but make sure they have a job which offers health insurance coverage to spouses and they are not at risk of losing their coverage in the near future. Marriage comes with it’s benefits, like gaining access to health insurance, you also may qualify for lower taxes and better rated on auto insurance.
What Are Other Options For Health Coverage?
If you don’t want to marry for health insurance and you don’t qualify for Medicaid, what are your options? Well, if you don’t have an underlying medical condition, you can take your chances and stay uninsured. We wouldn’t recommend this if you have any assets, or any aspiration of building wealth. Stuff happens, and you don’t want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical debt. A Harvard study showed that 62.1% of individuals that file bankruptcy in the U.S. do so because of medical debt. You probably don’t want to be included in that statistic.
The most obvious option for health insurance is to get it through the healthcare marketplace. This government program provides affordable health insurance to people that can not get it elsewhere. Unfortunately, it is anything but affordable for most people, which why a lot of couples choose to get married for health insurance instead of choosing a marketplace plan. There are 3 levels of plans included in the marketplace, bronze, silver, and gold. Bronze is catastrophic coverage and only kicks in once you pay a very large deductible. Gold plans are the most comprehensive, but also have the highest premium. Silver is somewhere in between the bronze and gold plans. Most people choose the silver plan. The cost of your premium depends on your age, level of income, and location.
Healthcare Sharing Ministry
If you can’t afford a marketplace plan, you might consider joining a healthcare sharing ministry. Healthcare sharing ministries are not health insurances, but instead religious organizations that share the healthcare costs of their members as a group. The plans are generally more affordable than health insurance, but the Ministry won’t cover healthcare costs that go against their beliefs, such as birth control or sex changes. And you must commit to living a life in line with the beliefs of the religious ministry you are joining.
If a healthcare ministry isn’t for you, you may consider purchasing supplemental insurance. Supplemental insurance typically accompanies health insurance to take care of gaps in coverage, however you can use it as a safety net if you don’t have health insurance. Companies like AFLAC, provide hospital or accident insurance in which they pay you a set amount if you’re unlucky enough to land yourself in the hospital or in an accident. The claim payment likely won’t cover the entire cost of care, but can cover a significant portion of your bill.