What Is an Effective Date of Insurance When Adding a Spouse After a Marriage?

Marriage can help your spouse gain access to insurance benefits.

Marriage can help your spouse gain access to insurance benefits.

Getting married doesn't just mean a big party and an expensive vacation. There are tangible benefits to pledging your life to someone, and insurance plans usually allow insured people to add their spouses after they get married. The effective date of insurance is the date that your spouse's coverage kicks in, and is usually shortly after your first insurance payment.

Effective Insurance Date

The effective date of insurance is the first day on which your spouse can take advantage of her coverage. This is usually the day of your first insurance payment, but may also be a few days after. Prior to this date, your spouse can't access your insurance benefits or coverage. Most insurance companies send a letter shortly after you enroll indicating the date of effective insurance. Some companies send the date when you've first asked about enrollment, and the insurance only becomes effective if you pay by that date.

Enrollment Periods

You usually have a limited window of opportunity to add a spouse after getting married. It is called a special enrollment period, and it begins on the date you get married and usually lasts 30 to 60 days. If you don't enroll during this time, you'll have to wait for your insurance company's open enrollment period, which is an annual time period during which you can add your spouse. This period usually lasts a month.

Required Documents

You'll likely have to show a marriage certificate to your insurance company to gain coverage for your spouse. She'll also have to provide her Social Security number, information about her health and previous addresses. It's very important to ensure the information on insurance forms is accurate. Failure to provide accurate information could cause your insurance company to deny your claim down the road.

Coverage Gaps

Sometimes the effective date of coverage is not the date on which all of your benefits kick in. Some health insurance plans -- particularly individual plans -- have waiting periods for mental health, maternity coverage, surgery and other expensive items. You'll need to check your policy to determine when this coverage kicks in fully. If your spouse has another insurance plan, it's often a good idea to keep it current until the new plan's benefits are fully active.


About the Author

Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.

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