Should we say “I do” early for health insurance?

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Photo by Megan Finley
Photo by Megan Finley
My fiancé has no insurance (health, car, dental or vision) and I do. I want him to be insured and don't want to wait until our actual wedding for him to be able to be added to my insurance.

Do you think it is a good idea to secretly go to the courthouse and get the legal stuff done ahead of time before we do the ceremony we already have planned? -Sarah

Girl, I feel you. As anyone who's read the book knows, health insurance was a big part of why Andreas and I decided to finally get married after 6+ years of unwedded bliss. It's a sad commentary on health care in the United States, but them's the facts. (Canadians, you have no idea what kinds of fun you're missing. *snork*)

With that personal bias in mind, I think it's perfectly acceptable to be pragmatic: go to the courthouse, do the deed, and quietly enjoy the insurance. No one but your health care providers need to know, and you and your fiancé can rest assured knowing that if he breaks his leg next month, you won't have to use your wedding budget to pay for the cast.

Comments on Should we say “I do” early for health insurance?

  1. That’s part of the reason why my husband and I moved our date up entirely. That and all the student aid benefits a married couple gets. Not very romantic but too practical for anyone to criticize!

  2. My Fiance and I are doing the exact opposite thing for similar reasons. My oldest son from my prior marriage is disabled, and our backwards state only has the services he needs if we are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. If we get legally married, his income becomes mine, but if we stay domestic partners, his income is not counted for my son’s benefits. We want to get married and have a big damn party for our friends, so we are. We are just not signing any sort of legal paperwork. It is honestly not up to the state to designate our status anyway.

    • Thats kind of the same issue with my mom. My mom is disabled and has been with her boyfriend for 12+years. If they get married my mom would lose her benefits and insurance. And although she doesnt actually get much she relies on it (mainly insurance of course).

  3. You know, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially after doing my taxes this year. I’m tired of living like a “married” couple but not getting the benefits implied therein… When we rent a place, we have to pay two application fees. We have to do our taxes separately, our financial aid separately, our insurance separately. We pay twice as much for everything, despite the fact that for four years we’ve been, for all intents and purposes, married.

    The more I’ve been thinking about it, the more that I’ve come to see the actual legal marriage and our wedding as two completely different things.

    I think that the legal marriage part should be just called a “civil union” and offered up to everyone… And I think that we’re going to do it (on the DL so as not to upset our families because they’re old school) so that we can reap the legal benefits.

    The wedding is, to me, the part that really counts. The ceremony and celebration that celebrates our life together. And I want that, too, but (because of budget and time constraints) that’ll be a little while down the road.

    In the meantime, there’s no reason that the can’t get hitched in the eyes of the law…

    I just wish that ALL couples, of all genders, had the same option available to them.

    This isn’t very eloquent or well written ’cause I’m sick and distracted, but I think you get what I’m sayin’.

  4. I don’t know if you’ve looked into it or not, but some states (California, Oregon do, I know for sure) have “spousal equivilency” insurance, or domestic partnership insurance. if you are living together, or are on the verge of living together, this may work for you also. good luck in whatever decision you make. 🙂

  5. Well I talked to my benefits person at work and found out it would cost us over $400 a month to have both of us insured, as opposed to the $40 I am paying a month just for me. So we can’t afford the insurance even if we do get secretly married before the wedding. Time to move to Canada! And I couldn’t agree more with Samantha about ALL couples having the same options open to them.

  6. My fiance and I did exactly what this girl wants to do. My fiance was about to start a new job and he was getting great benefits, while I had no benefits at all at the job I was working at.

    So we went to the town hall and got married. We are still planning our wedding and are very excited for our big day. Us already being married hasn’t taken away at ALL from this special day we will have.

    My parents know about it but his parents don’t. Only because this is the first wedding out of their three children and we don’t want to spoil their joy and excitement over the occasion.

  7. My fiance and I were soooo close to doing this, until his parents agreed to pay for his health insurance up until we get hitched. If she thinks her family or his family won’t like it, then there’s really no reason they have to know about it.

    By the way, it’s super-easy to put your fiance on your car insurance. I just called up my insurance and told them we were living together and sharing each other’s cars. It was actually much cheaper for us to have joint car insurance for two cars, rather than individual insurance, as he’s had a few accidents in the last 3 years.

  8. I think that it is fine to do it. I also agree wholeheartedly with what Samantha aid. That a wedding is totally different than legal marriage. They don’t have to be the same and the legal part of it is in someways practical. Having been with a woman for 13 years and now marrying a man, I do wish I had had similar rights back then. Everyone should have them, period.

  9. Ahh, I’m so glad this topic came up. We just set a September date but we’re talking about doing the legal stuff in April for insurance purposes. I’m just wondering if we need to tell the families/friends during the interim. Any thoughts??

  10. My first husband and I got married for graduate school housing benefits. A big wedding was in the works, so we thought we would just do it secretly and it wouldn’t be a big deal. (We didn’t want to hurt our parents feelings). First of all, people find out. So, then you’re in the uncomfortable situation of having the second-cousin of the justice of peace know you’re married, and not your own mom. In the end, my parents found out and were hurt and I felt like a jerk. I’m all for getting married for benefits, but I highly recommend not doing it secretly. You are just creating a situation that will have to be dealt with sooner or later.

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