Obamacare and unmarried same-sex couples

My girlfriend and I are not married, and don’t plan to marry any time soon even though our state does allow same-sex marriage.    She does not have health insurance.  When the health reform mandate starts in 2014, she probably still won’t have a plan.  Will the law also change and let me add her to my plan at work even though we are not married?

Single Still in Connecticut

Dear Single Still,

You are in luck – Connecticut does require health insurers to offer coverage to “domestic partners” and homosexual couples qualify.  You could buy a plan for her now, assuming that you and she meet the criteria for domestic partner.  These include such things as living together, not being otherwise related, being exclusive, etc.  Your employer, however, may or may not offer coverage for domestic partners.  If not, you could buy coverage on the non-group or individual market.  In 2014, there will be “exchanges” that offer plans.

If she stays uninsured, she will pay the penalty when she files her taxes.  Since you are not married, her penalty will be based upon her income alone – not yours together.

Even though you are not married, you might feel obligated to help pay her medical bills (though legally, you would not be responsible).  If something terrible were to happen to her, you could be faced with selling your worldly goods to pay for her care.  In case you have a home or some savings accounts that you are fond of, you might want to consider getting her some health insurance.


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.