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Spouses may lose health coverage through employer

Posted on May 1st, 2013 Read time: 1 minutes

One unexpected consequence of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the loss of spousal coverage under employer-sponsored health care. Employee benefits administrations might have to make the difficult decision about including spouses in health coverage.

According to Marketwatch, employers might be able to save on annual insurance premiums and new ACA fees by excluding spouses from their company health plans. The ACA requires organizations to pay a per life fee, and many companies might not be able to afford to have additional individuals on their plans. Some businesses have already eliminated spouses from their coverage; almost 4 percent of organizations with more than 20,000 employees excluded significant others from plans last year, which is up from only 2 percent in 2010, according to Marketwatch.

Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, told the news source that more businesses may adopt spousal exclusions as part of their health policies, such as "spousal care-outs" that commonly impede coverage for those spouses who are able to get insurance through their own employer. 

"The question about whether it's obligatory to cover the family of the employee is being thought through more than ever before," Darling said.

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