How dental coverage changes when you get married
June can be a great time to schedule a wedding. That means it's also a good time to learn what can happen to your dental benefits when you get married.
When it comes to your dental coverage, marriage is considered a “qualifying life event.” After a qualifying life event, you can make changes to your dental plan within a specified amount of time. If your change isn't requested in time, you may have to wait for open enrollment – the window of time when you can make changes to your dental coverage.1 Check your dental coverage to see when the adjustment will take effect.
In the period during which you can make a change, you have a couple options. You can choose to keep your coverage as is, become a dependent under your spouse's plan or make your spouse a dependent under your plan. If one party does become a dependent, they have the option to keep their current coverage or discontinue it. If you choose to be covered under both plans, you have what is known as “dual coverage.” The plan that covered you originally is the primary plan and the plan that covers you as a dependent is the secondary. The primary plan will pay its portion first and the secondary plan will act as a supplement.
Depending on what you choose, you may need to make a coverage update. For coverage obtained through employers, HR departments of both parties will need to make the requested change and update you and your spouse's personal information. If you don't receive coverage through an employer, you can reach out directly to your dental plan carrier.
In the case that you decide not to switch your dental plan but change your last name, you will still need to contact your HR department or benefits carrier to update your information. When updates have been made, you may want to request a new insurance card for your next appointment.
By knowing your options ahead of time, you can take some stress off your plate as you prepare for the big day.