Get married for health insurance?

My boyfriend and I have lived together for 10 years.  We are both in our late 40’s and just haven’t bothered to get married.  I work part-time and freelance jobs, and haven’t had health insurance for years.  I recently had a little scare, and it made me realize that I’m not getting any younger.  My boyfriend’s work allows domestic partners to be covered, but only if the partner is the same sex as the employee.  Heterosexual couples, apparently, are expected to get married.  It seems ridiculous to get married just to get health insurance, but what are my options?  Isn’t health insurance really expensive unless you are with an employer?

Committed but Not Married

Dear Committed but Not Married,

Yes, it does seem ridiculous to get married to get health insurance but people do it.

Before you head to altar, you could check out how much health insurance would cost you on your own.  This is called “individual” or “non-group” coverage.  It may be less expensive than you think.  You can go to to check out your options.

Your part-time employer might allow you to pay to join their group plan.  Depending upon what kind of freelance work you do, there may be a trade group that offers a group health plan.  That is also worth checking out.

Failing all of those options, you could take this as an excuse to (finally) get married.  Once you are covered, keep in mind that your recent scare will be considered a pre-existing condition and may not be covered for 12 months.  This will be true if you get covered less than six months after your scare happened, or after you get any care related to it.

I’ve heard of people getting married because their apartment lease was running out.  Getting married for health insurance seems almost noble compared to that.  Good luck!


Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.