Adding a spouse to your existing health insurance policy can become necessary after marriage, job loss, or change of employment. Typically, changes to a policy may be made only once a year during a period typically known as “open enrollment.” According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, changes may be made at any point in the year after certain life events, such as marriage. Adding a spouse is a simple procedure, though exact regulations may vary between insurance companies.
Call your insurance company to determine if your situation allows your spouse to be added immediately, or if you have to wait for the next open enrollment. Inquire about the dates for open enrollment, if it is determined you are not eligible to add your spouse immediately. If open enrollment is months away, consider purchasing an individual policy, or utilizing Cobra if applicable, to avoid gaps in coverage. Issues with pre-existing conditions can arise when a lapse in coverage has occurred.
Request that your spouse be added to your policy immediately if allowed by your insurance company. Depending on your particular company and policy, this may be done over the phone, or you may be required to submit paperwork. Information typically required includes your spouse’s name, date of birth and social security number. Be sure to verify whether your spouse will be subject to a waiting period, typically 30 days as described by Financial Web.
Ask about likely rate increases resulting from adding your spouse to your policy. Policies purchased through an employer may be paid for out of payroll deductions. Keep in mind that your paychecks will now reflect this change. Also, inquire if your deductible is subject to change now that your spouse has been added.
Keep all insurance documents sent to you after adding your spouse to your existing policy. You should receive confirmation of the change, as well as a card or other form of proof that your spouse is now covered under your policy. If you do not receive these documents within two weeks of requesting the addition to your policy, call your insurance company to make sure that they have been mailed out.