Can an employer refuse to add a spouse to the health insurance plan?

UPDATED: Nov 10, 2011

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Can an employer refuse to add a spouse to the health insurance plan?

My employer has informed us that our spouses will no longer be covered under our plan if the plan offered from their employer is comparable. My husband is a loan officer and his company pays part of the premium for the support staff but nothing towards the premium for loan officers. His payment will be sizable especially compared to the $90 a month that I pay to have him on my plan. Is this legal?

Asked on November 10, 2011 under Insurance Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, this is unfortunately legal. Remember: employers are not required, even under the recent health care law, to offer health insurance at all (they could elect to pay a fairly small penalty once the law is fully implemented, rather than provide coverage). Since there is no mandate to provide coverage, and providing health insurance is voluntary on the part of employers, they can put restrictions on what they offer--so, for example, they could refuse to cover family members who have the option of coverage through their own employers.

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