What Benefits Moves You Should Make When You Marry

February 4, 2020

The venue. The date. The guests. The food. There are so many things to plan for when getting married that many soon-to-be brides and grooms turn to wedding planners or online resources (such as checklists) just to keep it all together. Once you’ve tied the knot, it’s also a great idea to tie up any loose ends with your employee benefits. We wanted to provide you with a few helpful tips you can follow to make sure you’re easily able to get the most out of your healthcare and employee benefits after your big day.

Employee benefits and marriage

Evaluate your enrollments

Marriage is a qualifying event, changing you and your spouse’s status from “single” to “married.” Examine your health insurance options  to see if one of your insurance plans is better suited for both of you, or if you prefer to remain as individuals within your own plans. Your individual medical needs and premium costs could factor into your decision.

You may also choose to consolidate any pre-tax benefits plans, such as Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), that you both participate in. Decisions you make regarding your insurance will affect your eligibility for either an HSA or FSA. Also be sure to evaluate:

  • How much each of you are contributing. For example, if you and your spouse have two separate HSAs (one for family and one for self), the contributions to both accounts must combine to be at or less than the family limit. Anything contributed above the family limit is subject to tax penalties.
  • What employer matches are available. For example, if each of your HSAs includes an employer match, it could make financial sense to maintain separate HSAs.

Update your beneficiaries

HSAs are employee-owned accounts. Funds carry over from one plan year to the next, even when you change employers. That’s why you have the opportunity to name a beneficiary for your account in the event that you pass away.

When you get married, you may choose to make your spouse the beneficiary. If something happens to you, they become the owner of the account and can use the funds in much the same way you did. Once they become owner, if the account is closed and funds withdrawn, funds will be subject to the same taxes and penalties as they would if you withdrew funds to pay for ineligible expenses.

Review benefits access

If your spouse is now covered by your insurance and/or your pre-tax benefits, provide them with details on how to access plans or funds. For example, if you participate in a Discovery Benefits HSA and you’ve added your spouse as a dependent on the account, you can easily order a Discovery Benefits debit card for your spouse through your online account so  they can have fast access to funds.

Look ahead

Are you and your spouse planning to start a family right away? If so, you may want to increase your contribution limits to your HSA or FSA to accommodate for any eligible expenses you incur.

Please note: HSA contributions can be changed at any time, while a change in marital status often, but not always, allows you to make changes to your FSA contributions. 

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Discovery Benefits cannot provide legal, investment or financial advice related to the plans we administer and nothing shared in this blog post should be interpreted as such. We encourage you to seek appropriate professional advice regarding your plan.

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