Obamacare: How do I change my health coverage now that I'm married?





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Published on May 13, 2014

At eHealth, we get a lot of calls from newlyweds.

They typically want to know how to change their health coverage now that they're married.

If you get married outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) considers marriage to be a qualifying event that triggers a Special Enrollment Period.

Once you're married, you'll have 60 days to enroll in a new health plan, or add your spouse to an existing health plan, without waiting for the next annual open enrollment period, which is currently scheduled to begin on November 15 of this year.

When you apply for the new coverage, you may need to provide documentation of your new marriage. It's a good idea to have a copy of your marriage license and marriage certificate available.

Be aware that all new major medical heath plans provide certain popular benefits with no out of pocket costs like:
- Dietary counseling and screenings for weight management
- Tobacco and alcohol screenings, counseling and help quitting
- And recommended mental health and illness prevention tests and screenings -- to name a few

If you miss the 60-day deadline for your Special Enrollment Period, you or your spouse may not be able to enroll in a major medical health plan until the next open enrollment period. And, it's likely your coverage could not begin before January 1 of next year.

If you miss the 60-day deadline, we encourage you to look at short-term health coverage as an alternative, to gain some measure of protection until you're eligible to apply for major medical coverage again during the Open Enrollment Period. Short-term coverage does not meet the requirements of Obamacare, so you may still be subject to a tax penalty.
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