How can I switch to my spouse’s health insurance plan?

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Asked January 16, 2016

1 Answer

It is not unusual for a married couple to have dual health insurance policies. To get the best protection, it is often better to choose one plan for both partners and terminate the other. However, since some plans provide more coverage for certain events than others, it might also be a good idea to keep the second plan if it fills gaps in what the first plan covers.

Switching to your spouse's health insurance is not difficult. When the open enrollment period begins, your spouse simply adds you to the policy. Some plans may allow you to add a spouse at any time, but most only allow new members during the open enrollment period, which usually begins in January and remains open for 30 to 90 days. If the insurance needs any specific information about you before you can be added to the plan, you will be notified and given a reasonable amount of time to respond.

Once you have been added to your spouse's health insurance, you have to decide whether to cancel your own plan or convert it to a secondary coverage plan. In the first case, you can simply notify the health insurer that you wish to discontinue the coverage, and the plan will be terminated within 14 to 30 days. If there are any outstanding claims being processed, the policy will remain active for billing purposes until the accounts are all balanced, but you will not be eligible to file any additional claims against the policy unless those claims result from services received before the cancellation date of your policy.

In some cases, your policy may offer some benefits, such as prescription coverage, which is not available on the plan your spouse has. In this case, it would be beneficial to keep your plan as a secondary policy, but there is a hurdle that must be passed. Insurance companies designate the primary plan as the one belonging to the spouse whose birthday occurs first in the year. For this reason, you cannot choose which plan is the secondary coverage, and if your spouse's birthday comes later in the year than your own, then her plan will always be considered the secondary policy for billing purposes.

Answered January 21, 2016 by Anonymous

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