Eligibility for Health Insurance as Unmarried Couples

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Traditional Health Insurance Policies

  • Generally Reserved for Married Couples: Most health insurance companies traditionally allow only legally married couples to share a plan.
  • Proof of Marriage: Legal documentation of marriage is typically required for enrollment.

Common Law Marriage Considerations

  • Varies by State: Only some states recognize common law marriages.
  • Eligibility Criteria: Couples must meet specific state criteria, often including living together for several years and presenting as married.
  • Legal Recognition: Couples may qualify for shared health insurance in states recognizing common law marriage.

Domestic Partnership and Civil Unions

  • Alternative to Marriage: Some states and employers recognize domestic partnerships or civil unions, offering similar benefits to marriage.
  • Health Insurance Eligibility: These relationships may qualify couples for shared health insurance.

Employer-Specific Policies

  • Varied Criteria: Some employers offer health insurance to unmarried partners regardless of legal marriage or common-law status.
  • Documentation Requirements: Proof of domestic partnership and financial interdependence may be required.

Examples of State Common Law Marriage Guidelines

  1. Texas: Couples must agree to be married, live together in Texas, and represent themselves as married to others.
  2. Colorado: Couples must cohabit and have a reputation in the community as being married.
  3. Montana: Recognizes common law marriages without a set duration of cohabitation.

Comparison of Common Law Marriage Requirements in Various States

StateCohabitation DurationOther Requirements
TexasNo Set DurationAgreement to be Married, Public Representation
ColoradoNo Set DurationPublic Reputation as Married
MontanaNo Set Duration


Understanding health insurance eligibility for unmarried couples depends on state laws and specific employer policies. Common law marriage is a key factor in some states, while others may recognize domestic partnerships. Each state has unique requirements for common-law marriage recognition, which can affect health insurance options for unmarried couples. Contact us today for a free quote.

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Shawn Plummer is a licensed financial professional, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

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