Getting Married to a Health Plan

Alarming Statistic of the Week: Five percent of adults report that they or someone else in their household decided to get married in the past year mainly to have access to the new spouse’s healthcare benefits. Another 5 percent report getting married so the spouse could share their own health coverage.

The same Kaiser Family Foundation poll that yielded these morsels found 12 percent of its respondents saying they or another household member switched jobs in the past year “mainly because the new job offered better healthcare benefits.” Conversely, 18 percent “decided to stay in one job, rather than take another, mainly because the job you held at the time offered better healthcare benefits.”

As the cost of medical care combines with other financial pressures, significant numbers of consumers are scrimping on their care. Twenty-four percent said they or a family member have skipped a recommended test or treatment in the past year due to cost. Twenty-three percent have elected not to fill a prescription and 19 percent have cut pills in half or skipped doses during that period. Some simple arithmetic indicates that these measures are not confined to people who lack health coverage (whether private or governmental), as the numbers taking such steps exceed the 15 percent who said they have no coverage.