Los Angeles Times Examines Trend of Marrying for Health Insurance Coverage
The Los Angeles Times on Monday examined how some people are getting married to gain coverage under their husband's or wife's health insurance plans. According to the Times, there are no statistics on how many couples get married to gain access to health benefits, but "there are signs the arrangements are growing among people who can't afford medical coverage and those struggling under the burden of rising insurance premiums." Several patient advocacy groups -- including the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society -- contend that there is "a small but growing" number of seriously ill people who are marrying "as a last resort to deal with potentially crippling medical bills," the Times reports. In addition, Internet chat rooms "are filled with people communing about the benefits of marrying for health benefits and trading tips on how to do it right," according to the Times. Kathleen Stoll, director of health policy for Families USA, said that although marrying for health benefits "may sound silly," it is "no joking matter" and a "serious example of just how difficult getting affordable health insurance is for most people." Dave Hennings, a spokesperson for the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, said that it is doubtful that insurers would deny coverage to people who marry for health benefits because "most people would agree this doesn't rise to the level of fraud" (Costello, Los Angeles Times, 6/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.