Sometimes a couple is very much in love with each other, and they want to be together, yet they’re not ready to get married.
This might lead to them deciding to live together as if they’re married, but without making things legal.
However, without a couple being legally married, they’re not entitled to the same benefits as married couples are, and you might wonder if unmarried couples can be on the same health insurance.
If insurance is obtained through an employer, in most situations, it is not permissible for unmarried couples to be on the same health insurance policy.
Most health insurance policies through employers are so strict that even if an employee tries to add someone who they claim is a spouse, the insurance agency wants proof, such as a copy of a marriage license.
There may be some instances in which an unmarried couple can share insurance, and here is a complete overview regarding unmarried couples and health insurance benefits.
Why is employer health insurance so strict, yet unmarried couples can file their taxes together?
Unfortunately, the rules are different when it comes to health insurance and income tax returns.
If an unmarried couple lives together, then one can claim the other one on their income tax return as a dependent.
However, health insurance, especially plans through an employer, has different rules that are a bit stricter.
What happened to common-law marriage?
Common-law marriage was outlawed in many states many years ago, although it remains legal in a few states, like South Carolina.
Common-law marriages are marriages that are legal in every way, except there was never a ceremony or marriage license obtained or filed.
Common-law marriages are only valid in the few states that still recognize them, and couples usually have had to live together before they’re considered to be common-law spouses.
The outlawing of common-law marriages in most states
Common-law marriage was outlawed in most states because officials felt that these types of marriages were more of a hindrance than anything else.
Even though common-law spouses never go through an official ceremony and there is no marriage license filed, if these couples decide to part, then they must obtain a legal divorce just like couples with traditional marriages.
This can be a drain on government resources and time, which is why most states no longer allow common-law marriages.
Can couples in common-law marriages in South Carolina be on the same insurance policy?
Since this state still recognizes common-law marriage, then it is likely possible as long as the couple is able to obtain formal proof from a court that they are common-law spouses.
However, the law is so complicated that these couples might still run into problems trying to get on the same insurance policy.
Not all employers choose health insurance plans that are within the same state, so if a couple in a common-law marriage in South Carolina attempts to get on the same health insurance plan, the health insurance underwriters may not recognize their union as a marriage if the plan is through a state where common-law marriage has been outlawed.
What are some instances in which unmarried couples can be on the same insurance plan?
One instance in which unmarried couples can be on the same insurance plan is if they are both eligible for Medicaid.
Of course, Medicaid can’t be compared to commercial insurance, but it is health coverage.
As long as the eligible couple resides at the same address, then they will be on the same “case” at the local social services office.
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield is an insurance plan that often covers unmarried couples on the same policy.
However, if that policy is through an employer, then the couple may need to actually be married in order for this to occur.
Most employers contribute to the cost of an employee’s health insurance, including their dependents, and not many companies are willing to pay for coverage for dependents that aren’t legally related.
Buying private health insurance
If you opt to purchase private insurance, it increases the chances that you will be able to add your unmarried partner to your health insurance policy or vice versa.
Since the two of you would be paying the entire premium, the insurance care isn’t likely going to restrict unmarried couples from being on the same health insurance policy.
However, be sure to inquire first, because every insurance company has its own specific rules, even if the plan isn’t through an employer.
Why you shouldn’t assume your policy won’t cover your domestic partner
Times are rapidly changing, and if insurance policies and employers want to stay on top of these changes, then they need to adjust as well.
As a result of the rapid changes that are going on with the acceptable of same-same couples, transgender, etc., insurance companies and employers that didn’t cover an unmarried domestic partner in the past may currently provide coverage.
So, instead of assuming that your health insurance policy won’t cover your domestic partner, inquire first.
Why are insurance companies so strict?
Unfortunately, health insurance plans, especially those through an employer, are strict and have many rules because they can, plain and simple.
An employer is in charge of how he or she wants their health insurance plan to function, and there’s nothing that you can really do.
You could meet with the person at your job who is responsible for health insurance and ask if they will start covering domestic partners, and if you’re convincing enough, it could just work.
Are there any known employers whose insurance plan covers domestic partners?
There are many employers whose health insurance plans cover domestic partners, and you just have to seek them out.
The Alaska government is one employer that offers health insurance for their employees and their unmarried domestic partners.
However, if the unmarried couple does not reside in the same household, there aren’t many companies that will cover them both.
Should a couple get married just so they will both be covered under health insurance?
A couple shouldn’t get married just to be covered under health insurance unless they were already planning to get married.
Marriage is a big deal that shouldn’t be taken lightly, so if a couple is having difficulty ensuring that they’re both covered under health insurance, then they should seek assistance with finding a plan, even if they must purchase a private plan through the government Marketplace.
Only when a couple feels ready to get married should they walk down the aisle.
Alternatives for an unmarried partner without health insurance
If your unmarried partner is unable to obtain health insurance through the plan at your job, perhaps your partner could seek out a job of their own that offers benefits.
If that’s not an option, your partner could apply for Medicaid or check out the Marketplace.
There are many affordable plans in the Marketplace insurance that make it easy for your partner to find high-quality coverage for an affordable price.
Failing to allow unmarried couples to be on the same health insurance policy is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Despite this fact, there continue to be plenty of employer health plans that don’t recognize an employee’s domestic partner as a legal relative.
So, if you and your partner both need insurance coverage, then you might be forced to buy a private plan if your employer won’t allow you to add your domestic partner to your plan.