Affordable Care: Separate plans for domestic partners

“My domestic partner and I are not legally married in any state and the state in which we live does not allow gay marriage.  We are both 22 years old.  Will we need to apply for two separate insurance plans, or may we purchase one and have both of on the plan?”

Two South Carolina Peaches

Dear South Carolina Peaches,

Here is what I can surmise from the plan summaries available on South Carolina Blue Cross’s website.

Since you are not legally married (and not living in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage), you will be buying two separate plans.  This is not a huge disadvantage, however.  The rates for a married couple are two times the individual rate; they don’t get a “discount” for having a legal union.  The deductible for the plan also applies to each person separately.  So, there is no extra benefit here either.

Because you will be under age 30 as of January 1, 2014, you may be able to choose a catastrophic plan.  This plan has a $6,350 deductible.  In addition to being under 30, you also have to get a hardship exemption showing that you cannot afford another plan.  To check this out, call 800-318-2596 or go to healthcare.gov when it is working.

Your state is not expanding Medicaid to new groups, but you may want to keep an ear to the ground on this.  Health economists believe that eventually all of the states will expand Medicaid.  This means that people would be able to join based simply on their income, not based upon whether they are pregnant, have small children, etc. etc.

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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.