Spouses Getting Health Insurance Surcharges with Employer Plans

If you have health insurance coverage through your spouse’s employer, there’s a good chance that you are about to get charged more than you are now.  According to the Forbes article, “Employers Penalizing Spouses For Health Insurance,” Kerry Hannon says that many employers are adding a new surcharge to cover the increasing costs of health care.  Employers aren’t legally required to offer health insurance coverage to your spouse or children, in fact they aren’t even legally required to offer coverage to you.  Health care costs are increasing and after the changes coming in 2014, employers’ costs will increase even more.  In an effort to cut some of their expanding insurance costs, many employers are adding surcharges to cover employee’s spouses that can cost you up to $3,000 more yearly.

Recently, 1/5 of employers who took a health survey said that they were imposing a surcharge of at least $100 on spouses who had access to their own health insurance at their employer.  I don’t blame companies for doing that.  If someone has access to their own employer health insurance, the spouse’s employer shouldn’t necessarily have to take a hit on those health care costs just to be nice.  A surcharge may not be that unfair in those kinds of circumstances.  It’s different if the spouse doesn’t have access to their own insurance and would have to search for an individual plan elsewhere rather than being covered on their spouse’s plan.  In addition to the 1/5 of companies currently imposing a surcharge, another 13% plan to start charging between $500 and $3,000 by next year.

More often than not, the spouses being covered by employers are women.  Their health care costs are typically more expensive than their husband’s costs because of having babies and seeing doctors on a more regular basis.  Many younger women are staying home with their young children and don’t have insurance coverage outside of their spouses.  Women aged 50-64 often work part time, not at all, or for a non-profit company that doesn’t offer health insurance.  If you’ve found out that you’ll be paying a surcharge to have health insurance through your spouse’s employer, compare your other options to see if you should stick with that plan or make a change.  When you have the option of insurance through your employer, see how much it will cost you and if the benefits are equivalent or better.  It might be more of a hassle to switch if you have to change doctors and worry about double the paperwork for two different health insurance plans.  Also, if you are going to look for individual coverage that you’ll pay for after taxes, the tax savings of being on your spouse’s plan might make it worthwhile not to go on your own.  But if you feel like finding your own coverage is necessary, you can find an individual plan that will meet your needs.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • MSN Reporter

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply