Newlyweds guide: Buying your own health insurance as a married couple

Unlike touring venues and cake tasting, choosing the right health insurance plan probably isn't at the top of your wedding planning check list, but it's important.

As one of your first newlywed duties, you'll want to evaluate your coverage options so that you find a health plan that works for your new family. It's important to say "I Do" to a plan that covers you and your spouse in sickness and in health.

Getting married allows for a special enrollment period

You can usually only enroll in a new health plan during the open enrollment period, which typically happens during the fall and winter months. However, getting married is a qualifying life event that offers you a special enrollment period. This means you can change your health plan 30-60 days after you tie the knot. There should be no gap in your coverage, but do your homework to make sure you don't get caught without insurance during a transition period. You'll need to have a copy of your marriage license to qualify.

How do you get started?

When you're navigating your different coverage options, there are a few things you'll need to take into consideration, such as your (and your spouse's) current health status and coverage situation. You'll want to keep these things in mind when comparing coverage options:

  • Number of family doctor visits per year
  • Prescription medications
  • Dental, vision, or specialist coverage
  • The relationship with your current doctor
  • Deductible, monthly premium, and out-of-pocket costs
  • Medical history of both sides of the family
  • Family planning

Ask about a job-based family plan

If your employer offers a family health plan, you may be able to add a spouse to your plan or join your spouse's coverage. Joint plans can be a good option, since you'll be more likely to reach your deductible if both of your expenses count toward a single deductible amount. Talk to your company's human resource manager about the costs and benefits of this option.

See if you qualify for a subsidy

The Marketplace is a great resource for comparing individual plan benefits and pricing while shopping. If one or both of you are currently enrolled on the Marketplace, you will need to update your account to reflect shared incomes, any change in residence, etc. These factors could affect your premium rate or subsidy eligibility. If you're eligible for a subsidy through the Marketplace, you may be able to get the same coverage you're used to, and pay less per month.

Shop directly from a health insurance company

If employer sponsored coverage isn't an option, and you don't qualify for a subsidy through the Marketplace, consider shopping for a plan directly through Priority Health. When you're ready to enroll, contact Priority Health directly for an expedited check-out process that will get you signed up for health coverage and member perks such as discounts on things you buy everyday or tools to manage your health care costs.

Keep your current coverage

In some scenarios, it might make the most sense to have separate coverage for the time being. If the price is right and you're both happy with your plans, the choice is yours to keep your current coverage. This could also give you more time to see how your expenses or health needs will change before the next open enrollment period.

Whatever option you choose, the most important thing is that you're both covered and protecting your health and future together. Remember to consider the costs and desired plan benefits as you compare coverage to fit a plan that suits your health needs and budget. If you have questions, call your company's human resource manager or reach out to Priority Health directly to help you choose the right coverage. These resources are available to make sure you get a plan that is right for you and your spouse.