In a time when health insurance costs are continually rising, some people are wondering how to game the system to secure better coverage without breaking the bank. One option might be piggy backing off of your significant other’s employer-provided health insurance. Best Buy is one of many employers that offers solid insurance for full-time employees. Can you be added to your boyfriend’s policy even if you aren’t married? It’s clear that employer-provided insurance covers spouses, but what if you haven’t tied the knot just yet? Unfortunately you will be required to make some changes to your legal status if you’d like coverage.
Legal protections for married couples
By law, Best Buy and other employers are required to provide employees with coverage. This coverage also includes the ability to add a spouse to their insurance policy. This isn’t free, of course. To have an additional person covered, the employee must pay a bit more each month. Still, this is much cheaper than trying to buy a separate policy out on the market today.
While there are regulations that force employers to provide coverage for spouses, the law is not as robust in protecting the rights of non-spouses. Because Best Buy is not required to provide coverage for partners who are not married, the company has chosen not to do so. You won’t be able to automatically score this protection just because your boyfriend happens to work for Best Buy.
Civil partnership options to secure benefits
Back when same-sex marriage was outlawed, states provides some semblance of equality by requiring employers to provide insurance for people in civil partnerships. This guaranteed rights similar to those earned through marriage even for people who could not get married. You have the option to apply for a civil union or civil partnership at your state’s tax office. If you’re able to do so, Best Buy will be required to provide you withe benefits even if you are not technically married to your spouse.
Some people are not willing to take this official legal step if they are just dating a person. After all, joining up in a civil partnership is a more serious step and will not work for couples who are not ready to incur this kind of commitment. With this in mind, if you would still like to receive coverage without being married to your boyfriend, you have one more option.
Common law marriage and health insurance rights
You may be able to meet the qualifications for common law marriage in your state even if you have not officially walked down the aisle. The requirements are different from state to state, so you will need to check your state’s laws to determine whether you qualify. In general, you will need to have lived with your boyfriend for an extended period of time to claim common law marriage. Other requirements will also apply, like the requirement for you to hold yourself out as married to third parties. Best Buy will be required to provide coverage if you can prove common law marriage.
Jim Treebold is a North Carolina based writer. He lives by the mantra of “Learn 1 new thing each day”! Jim loves to write, read, pedal around on his electric bike and dream of big things. Drop him a line if you like his writing, he loves hearing from his readers!