BY BTL STAFF
With the historic ruling by the Supreme Court affirming marriage equality for everyone regardless of what state they live in, a new world of opportunities is opening for Michigan’s LGBT community. Many Michiganders may not realize that once the wedding bells are done ringing, they have a special opportunity to enroll in quality, affordable health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Getting married is considered a “qualifying life event” under the Affordable Care Act. This means that newly-married couples qualify for a “special enrollment period” which allows them to sign up for a new health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace or make changes to the plan they enrolled in during the last open enrollment period.
So when LGBT Michiganders tie the knot, they can start their new life together with the protection of health insurance that fits their needs and budget.
Six things LGBT Michiganders should know about healthcare now that they can legally get married:
All newly-married couples can enroll in a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace right away before enrollment reopens in November. If married this summer, there’s an opportunity to enroll in Health Insurance Marketplace coverage. Additionally, if applying for Medicaid, every state must recognize a same-sex marriage regardless of where it was performed.
The special enrollment period will start the moment marriage documents are signed and end 60 days later, so there’s time to sign up after the honeymoon.
Legally married couples — including same-sex newlyweds who are getting married in Michigan – can receive financial assistance as a married couple. Seventy-eight percent of Michiganders who enrolled in coverage received financial assistance to lower their monthly premiums, Get Covered America reports. The average Michigander who enrolls through the Marketplace sees a reduction of $273 in their annual premium.
Every plan must cover 10 essential health services, including emergency room visits, prescription drugs and preventive care. No one can be denied preventive coverage because of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Free, one-on-one enrollment assistance from culturally competent experts is available.
Without health insurance, Michiganders will pay a fine on their next tax return. The fine for not being covered in 2015 is $325 per adult or 2 percent of the annual income, whichever is greater.
Other life changing events also qualify Michigan’s uninsured to enroll through a special enrollment period. These events include: certain changes in income, having a baby or moving to a different coverage area. Enrollment in Medicaid is year-round for those that qualify.