I was complaining over the weekend about jobs that don't offer benefits, and my friend said, "but doesn't Mark's job just cover you?" He, being unmarried, with mostly unmarried friends, stated that he thought that covering a spouse for free was standard for a company. I believe I laughed in his face.
When we got married, I had GradMed coverage in case I got hit by a car. Immediately after we got back from our honeymoon, we filled out the paperwork to be put on Mark's insurance. I knew the insurance wasn't great, but I was glad to have it, even though it meant we were paying more than $200 a month. Until I went to get a prescription filled and the co-pay made my jaw drop. But the real jaw-dropping moment happened a couple months later, when the company changed insurance, and the amount we were paying for me was going to go up to more like $350. I was still unemployed at this time.
So I started shopping for an individual plan. I turned to eHealthInsurance.com, which could cover me right away (they are not paying me to write this) and I had to pick between several plans. But as we tried to navigate the question of how high a deductible we wanted and what kind of benefits I needed (I get injured a lot), it was pretty difficult. Eventually I settled on a plan that seemed to get me the most for my money, and I went with it. I actually haven't used it yet, other than logging into the website, but I feel good to have it. We got lucky on one thing - I could stay on Mark's dental and optical insurance, without paying for the rest of it, so I don't have to pay out of pocket on that.
I know talking to a lot of other married couples that they face similar issues. Their spouse's insurance doesn't cover them, it's lousy, it's non-existent. There's also the issue that Lauren is facing, which is that she hasn't gotten on her husband's insurance yet, but she's been sick since their honeymoon. Fewer and fewer jobs are offering health insurance benefits now, and more and more people are in one or more of these situations.
We never for a second considered that I could go without insurance. Firstly, I'm accident prone, and I'm downright unlucky. Secondly, I go to the doctor pretty regularly, or if something is wrong. Thirdly, hospital bills are one of the leading causes of financial troubles and bankruptcy, and I didn't want a stupid risk we took early on in our marriage to destroy our life savings. Illness or bankruptcy could still destroy us, but with insurance, I feel a little bit better.
Has anyone else been surprised to find that getting health insurance by getting married isn't as easy as we were led to believe? Did anyone get married specifically to get health insurance coverage?