Can Your Boyfriend Be Added to Your Work Insurance?

Many people cannot afford health care without insurance coverage.
Many people cannot afford health care without insurance coverage. (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Insurance can be invaluable to those who have access to health care coverage, dental and vision coverage, disability, and life insurance benefits through their employer. If you have a partner who has no insurance coverage, or recently lost insurance coverage, your first instinct may be to seek coverage for him through your own insurance. Although it seems like a simple plan, it can only be accomplished by following several important steps.

Domestic Partners

Although you may not be eligible to enroll in a boyfriend or girlfriend's health insurance if the two of you live apart, enrollment in an insurance policy may be allowed for co-habitating partners. A number of states began enacting domestic partnership laws back in 2006, according to Not every state recognizes domestic partnerships, but those that do will typically allow same-sex and heterosexual domestic partners to be enrolled in one another's insurance benefits.

Enrollment Periods

Adding a domestic partner to your insurance as a dependent can only be done in a specific manner, notes the University of Washington. When you first begin employment and become eligible to enroll in your employer's insurance plan, you may enroll yourself and any dependents you wish, usually for a period of 30 to 60 days. Additionally, most insurance plans offer a period once a year known as open enrollment, when an individual can enroll in a new insurance plan or change an existing plan. Certain qualifying life events also trigger an automatic open enrollment period, such as a marriage, the birth or adoption of a child, or the loss of coverage under another insurance plan.

Domestic Partner Requirements

Some insurance companies may require you to show proof that you and your partner are engaged as qualified domestic partners, or QDP. Classification as a QDP may require that you register as a domestic partnership with your local secretary of state. Domestic partnership registration may also require both parties to show proof that they share the same residence by supplying copies of their licenses, passports, or utility bills addressed to both parties.

The Caveat

Even though there are insurance companies in some states that do recognize domestic partnerships, there are some that will only permit enrollment for same-sex domestic partners. The understanding is that a same-sex couple may not have the right to marry as readily as an opposite-sex couple, and therefore has no option other than a domestic partnership.

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