Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How Life Changing Events Affect Health Insurance Premiums

We all experience a variety of changes to our personal circumstances throughout our lifetimes. And, many of these life changes can in fact affect our health insurance coverage. For example, marriage, divorce, job change and having a family are among the most significant life events that can impact your health insurance premiums. It is important to understand how certain life events will impact your health insurance premiums.

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If you or your new spouse currently has group health insurance, by law once you are married, the employer must offer you the option of enrolling in the plan. Now the employer is not required to cover the cost of the spouse's health insurance, the plan must be offered. This is often a great advantage as many group plans offer protection against pre-existing conditions and may even be less expensive than individual coverage. If both spouses have access to health insurance, be sure to compare plans so that you can select the plan that offers the most coverage at the most affordable rates.


Most group plans are required to continue to offer coverage for a spouse in the event of a divorce as long as the primary employee remains eligible for coverage. However, not all plans offer this continuation or a prior spouse may not want to rely on this prior coverage for themselves long term. In this instance, searching for individual health insurance may be the best option.


HIPAA offers special protection to families who grow through the birth of a new child or through an adoption, allowing the new dependents to be enrolled in group coverage if it is currently offered or being taken advantage of by one of the parents. Most health insurance plans require that you add the new child to the policy within 30 days of their birth or adoption.

Job Change

If you are let go from your current employer which was offering you group coverage, you are protected by law. HIPAA offers protection for 12-18 months if you have pre-existing conditions and are having trouble securing health insurance once you leave an employer. And, you also have the option through COBRA to continue paying for your coverage after you have severed employment. While the premiums are typically much more expensive than what you were paying for your group coverage, extending the coverage will ensure that you are covered and that you do not have any gaps as you search for new employment.


As you prepare for your retirement with excitement, you may not have addressed an important concern; health insurance. Not all employers provide continuing coverage for their employees into retirement. As you prepare for this important event, be sure to speak with your benefits department about your available options and their associated costs.

We all experience life changing events throughout our lifetimes. And with something as important as our health, it is crucial that we understand how these events will impact our health insurance needs.

How Life Changing Events Affect Health Insurance Premiums


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