Will I be able to switch to my spouse’s health insurance plan after losing my own?

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Asked August 7, 2013

1 Answer

Most group insurance policies have specific enrollment periods when new applicants will be accepted into the plan. If you lose your insurance and want to switch to your spouse's coverage outside of this time frame, you will be told that you have to wait. Some companies offer multiple enrollment periods during the year, while others have a single enrollment period that lasts for a period of time each year. Still other insurance companies may have enrollment periods that range across a majority of the year, allowing you to sign up almost at will.

Check your spouse's policy to find out when the enrollment period for coverage begins and ends. If you cannot find it in the policy, your spouse can contact their Human resources department or the even contact the insurance company directly. Simply inform the person your spouse speaks with that you are interested in being added to her policy and want to know the specifics of how to do so.

Keep in mind that you will probably have to take a medical exam for the new insurance coverage. If your spouse has group coverage, this will not affect your application, but if your spouse has private coverage, you could be turned down, or exclusions may be added that prevent you from using the plan to pay for treatments of the preexisting condition. However, most insurance companies have begun accepting preexisting conditions by now, in preparation for it becoming mandatory in January of 2014, so if your spouse's insurance company won't accept preexisting conditions yet, they will have to do so in the near future.

You also have the option of using the COBRA plan to keep your old insurance while you look for new coverage. COBRA is not designed to be a regular insurance policy; it merely requires insurance companies to continue your coverage at your request after losing the job you got the plan through. COBRA requires you to pay the full premiums, including the portion paid by your previous employer, and there are administrative fees associated with starting the COBRA plan, but it will do until your spouse's open enrollment period begins, allowing you to maintain coverage throughout the period.

Answered August 7, 2013 by Anonymous

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