How We Are Deciding Which Spouse’s Insurance Plan To Use

My husband recently changed careers and is starting with his new employer at the end of this month. We’re all very excited about the transition as a family, but we have a very important decision to make: are we going to stay covered under our current health insurance plan that I have through work or are we going to move over to his plan? Or should the kids join my husband on his plan while I stay on my own? Decisions. Decisions.

How do you decide whose health insurance to use?

When both partners have benefits through work, it’s a good idea to re-examine your family coverage each year. Here are some of the things that we are considering as we decide which benefits to choose. These questions might trigger some points that are important to you and your family as well as you make your decision whether to stay put or move on to your spouse’s plan:

Questions to ask

  1. Are our current doctors considered in-network under my husband’s plan (especially the kids’ doctors)?
  2. Do my husband and I like the primary doctor options who fall in-network under his plan?
  3. If my husband has employee-only coverage at work, does his employer cover his monthly premium? (mine does)
  4. How do the monthly premiums and deductibles compare to what’s available under our current plan?
  5. Once we hit the deductible, how much is our coinsurance (the percentage we are responsible for paying)?
  6. Is a high deductible health plan (HDHP) an option with his employer and how much, if anything, does his employer contribute to a health savings account on his behalf?
  7. Are there any upcoming specialists we’ll need to see? Surgeries any of us will need? If so, are they covered? And how much would we be responsible for paying?
  8. Are there any specific medications we know we’ll need that are not covered under my husband’s plan?

These are some of the things we’ve started to consider. Thinking through your situation and coming up with your list of questions like these, or points that you want to be sure you address, will help you choose the coverage that best meets your needs. Be sure to break down the costs and compare apples to apples when choosing the right health insurance plan and steer clear of common mistakes that are often made during enrollment.

When you need to switch mid-year

It’s important to note that our decision happens to fall during my open enrollment period at work, but if it were outside of my company’s open enrollment period, my husband’s change in employment status (and thus his new eligibility to be covered under a health plan) would be considered a qualifying life event and we’d have a short time frame (typically 30 days) to make changes to our health plan.

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