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Is my employer required to cover my spouse and children if offering health insurance coverage?

Last Updated: 06/18/2012 08:51 AM

Even though most group health insurance plans make provisions for adding your spouse or dependents to your health insurance policy, there is no truth in the common assumption that the health insurer is required to extend coverage to your spouse and children. If your spouse or children have preexisting conditions, health insurance companies are not required to accept them under current law. In many situations, the insurance company will extend benefits to your wife and children, but there is not currently any legislation that requires them to do so.

When Obamacare goes into effect between now and 2014, the law will reverse and coverage will be available. At that time, the rules which insurance companies must follow when making new health care coverage available will change, and current regulations which allow someone to be turned based on preexisting conditions will be dropped in favor of equal coverage available for everyone.

Unless your spouse or children have preexisting conditions that preclude them from your current health insurance, you should be able to add them to your employer-sponsored health plan at the next open enrollment. With the exception of preexisting conditions, most health insurance companies are already accepting the spouse and children of plan members. Furthermore, as the deadline for Obamacare gets closer, more and more insurance companies are adopting the new regulations, which means that you may be able to add your family members even sooner than you expected, regardless of their current state of health.

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