Affordable Care Act: Commuter couple can get plan in both states

My husband and I file a joint tax return but his primary residence is MA and mine is NY. We are trying to navigate health insurance for both of us and our 6mo old Son. I have been unemployed for a year and qualify for a tax credit in New York. My Husband is self employed and my Son was on my husbands policy but we need to change because we’ve been costed out of the policy. I am completely at a loss – we need coverage in MA and NY in the same household. Can we carry a policy in two states?


Dear Confused,

Yes, you can buy one policy in New York and another in Massachusetts.  You will have to do two applications on – one for you and your son at the New York State Of Health website, and one for your husband at the Massachusetts Health Connector.  The two will almost be identical, since your household income and number of people in the household will be the same on both; the only difference will be in who is applying for health insurance.

An alternative would be to find a plan that has a national provider network in New York.  Such a plan would have “in network” doctors and hospitals in Massachusetts too.  These plans tend to be more expensive, however.  Your idea to buy a policy in each state is clever, and likely the cheapest way to go.

Having two plans means that you will get two sets of reports for filing your 2015 taxes.  You will have two bills to handle each month, and get letters from both plans on various things (flu shots, open enrollment, etc.)  You will have two enrollment processes – one for each plan.  Other than that, you shouldn’t have any more-than-usual administrative burden.

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.