If you are looking to add your fiancé to your health insurance policy, you first need to check with your insurance company since they will determine whether or not you can do so. Because fiancés are not dependents of each other and are not yet legally married, they usually cannot be added to an existing policy or otherwise jointly insured together. Most times, therefore, it is impossible to add a fiancé to a policy. The exception is if an employer negotiates different coverage terms.
Types of Health Insurance Policies
There are two main types of health insurance policies: individual and employer-provided. An individual health insurance policy is one that is purchased by a policy holder independently. This type of policy is commonly owned by freelancers and self-employed individuals. An employer-provided policy is one offered to an employee as part of their compensation or benefits.
The terms of individual policies usually cannot be negotiated. Most exclude fiancés from coverage because they are neither immediate family members nor dependents. Additionally, most do not give non-married couples a single policy to cover them both.
Employers, however, can negotiate the terms of the policies they provide employees. Because of this, some employee-provided policies may cover individuals who are excluded from coverage under an individual policy.
Insuring a Fiancé under a Health Insurance Policy
Most insurance companies allow multiple individuals to be covered under a single policy, but only if they are family members or dependents of the policy holder. The policy contract should explain how the company defines these two relationships. The majority of policies do not consider fiancés to be family members or dependents.
"Immediate Family Members" Defined
Most health insurance companies use a unique definition of “immediate family members” in their policies. Usually, this term includes not only children and spouses, but also aunts, uncles, and siblings. For individual policies, however, insurance companies limit the definition to children and spouses. While their definition includes adopted and step-children, it excludes any other relative. Ex-spouses, live-in girlfriends or boyfriends, life partners, and common law spouses are typically also not considered immediate family members.
Fiancés as Immediate Family Members
Insurance companies do not consider fiancés to be immediate family members because they are neither blood-related nor legally married to the policy holder. As such, most insurance policies prohibit adding a fiancé to a health insurance policy until after the marriage ceremony is performed and the certificate filed with the state.
A dependent is typically a child of the policy holder. Under the provisions of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, policy holders are able to insure dependents younger than 26 on their policies, regardless of their financial dependency, residency, attendance at school, marital status, or employment.
Because fiancés cannot be children of each other, one fiancé cannot claim the other as a dependent. As such, fiancés cannot be insured under an existing policy.
Insuring a Fiancé
The restrictions on eligibility and entitlement to coverage in most policies mean that there is no way for fiancés to have joint health insurance coverage. This does not mean that the fiancé cannot obtain health coverage, but rather that they must purchase a policy independently or remain on their employer’s policy until after the marriage ceremony.
There are, however, other insurance options with may be a better fit for the fiancé’s needs:
- Short-Term Coverage: Most health insurance companies offer short-term individual health insurance policies. Unlike a long-term policy, most short-term policies do not require applicants to submit a health history or submit to a physical examination. These policies can last up to six months, but may be more expensive.
- Catastrophic Coverage: This type of policy only covers the holder in extreme emergencies or accidents. They usually pay for hospital care, surgeries, and other unavoidable medical expenses incurred due to a catastrophic event. They continue as long as the premium is paid and are often inexpensive because of their limited coverage.
Getting Your Fiancé Coverage
Despite wanting to care for your fiancé as much and as soon as possible, it is unlikely that you will be able to provide them with health insurance coverage until after your wedding. Consider other options to ensure that your loved one will be insured until you are legally married.