Mike the Mad Biologist

Without getting into the pros and cons of traditional marriage ceremonies, I think most people would probably agree that eloping in order to get better healthcare insurance probably does little to support the supposed sanctity of marriage. Let me explain.

A colleague and her fiancé will be married in a few months in a nice traditional wedding ceremony–you know, the kind of thing conservatives are vigorously defending from The Freedom-Hating Homofascist Hordes. Currently, they both have separate health insurance: hers is a pretty good plan, and his is miserable, but it’s all he gets with the job he has. He’s not a lay about: he’s successfully employed at a skilled trade.

Unfortunately, he has had some medical problems, and he needs a endoscopy to determine if things have become better or worse. It seems things haven’t quite sorted themselves out yet, but who can tell? That’s why he needs the procedure (preventative medicine and all of that…).

So what’s the problem? After all, he has healthcare, right? Well, his insurance company is requiring him to make a four-figure co-payment. Keep in mind that his insurance company agrees that this is a necessary diagnostic procedure: it’s a co-payment. If they thought it was frivolous, then they should deny the claim. It’s just that the health insurer is too cheap to pay for most of the procedure. As I’ve mentioned, since you often don’t know what healthcare services you’ll need, you have no idea what you’re buying. In his case, apparently, very little. So the fiancé is left with three options:

  1. Forgo the procedure until they are married (several months from now), even though he still has some minor symptoms of his condition.
  2. Pay the four-figure co-payment out of pocket.
  3. Traipse down to City Hall with his bride-to-be and get married, so he can join her health insurance plan.

They’re actually considering option #3. Never mind that they want to have a traditional wedding–the kind that will keep America safe from the Homofascist Hordes–big ceremony, white dress, the whole bit. They might not be able to afford to do so.

The disgusting irony is that many of the same Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats who get bent out of shape defending ‘the sanctity of marriage’ (TEH GAY!! AAAIIEEEE!!), such as Blue Dog Ben Nelson, are the same people who make it difficult for many working people to get decent healthcare.

There might be perfectly good reasons to elope. Health insurance isn’t one of them.

Comments

  1. #1 NoAstronomer
    May 27, 2009

    Option #3 might not solve the problem since this appears to be a pre-existing condition and virtually all health-plans would exclude it.

  2. #2 C.C
    May 27, 2009

    NoA- A pre-existing condition won’t matter since he’s been continually insured and my reading of the post is that his wife has an employer sponsored plan that insures family members. At least in my state, in that scenario, the new insurance company cannot deny treatment for pre-existing conditions.

  3. #3 Grimalkin
    May 27, 2009

    They can just do what I did – head down to city hall, two witnesses in tow, and sign the papers. Have a nice family-only dinner out. Then, at a later date (the date they had originally planned) have a wonderful ceremony with family and friends that happens not to include any signing of papers.

    Our reason was because we wanted the ceremony to be in the US (where most of my family is), but we didn’t want the legal hassle of getting the certificate re-issued in Canada.

  4. #4 Janne
    May 27, 2009

    It’s quite common and perfectly ordinary here in Japan to separate the marriage registration and ceremony. You often want to marry before April 1st (when the fiscal, tax and administrative new year starts), but you may want to have a May ceremony (spring wedding) or perhaps have the ceremony and party during Obon in August when people tend to have time off work and go visit their home villages. Or you may even want to have two ceremonies and parties, one formal and low-key for relatives and coworkers, and a second one with your friends.

    Anyway, separating the legal paperwork and the ceremony is generally not a bad idea, I think.

  5. #5 DuWayne
    May 27, 2009

    I love this. The sanctity of marriage my ass – my sister didn’t get married because of healthcare. Been with her husband for years now, but because she has debilitating arthritis and is on medicare, they can’t legally get married. Never mind that he makes a fraction of what her care costs, he makes too much for her to be on medicare. So they aren’t legally married.

  6. #6 Jim Thomerson
    May 27, 2009

    DuWayne, I understand that people have gotten divorced for healthcare insurance reasons. One other anti-marrage thing is nepotism rules. I think these are less common than they used to be.

  7. #7 bea baylen
    May 28, 2009

    thanks for this article, my mind open about this problem.

  8. #8 Johnmayer
    May 28, 2009

    If you are uninsured and does not have insurance, you should check out the website http://UninsuredAmerica.blogspot.com – John Mayer, California

  9. #9 Blake Stacey
    May 28, 2009

    But what if you are uninsured and does have insurance??? Inquiring minds want to know!

  10. #10 nusret
    August 1, 2009

    thanks for article very

  11. #11 cale
    August 8, 2009

    very thanks for article

  12. #12 lst
    September 4, 2009

    You often want to marry before April 1st (when the fiscal, tax and administrative new year starts),