Do Insurance Companies Ask for the Marriage Certificate as a Proof of Marriage?

Only certain family members qualify for your family insurance plan.

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Many employers offer health insurance, including family plans, as part of your benefits package. This high-value benefit prompts some employees to try to insure ineligible dependents such as ex-spouses, extended family or unmarried partners. According to the New York Times, the era of the honor system is over. Employers are increasingly asking for proof that their employees are in fact legally married and eligible for dependent coverage.

Open Enrollment

Some employers use the honor system at open enrollment. You sign a form stating that the dependents you add to your form are eligible for coverage. You provide each dependent’s name and personal identifiers to prove relationship. When you sign up at open enrollment, you may have to provide a marriage certificate if requested. More likely, your health insurance sends out a dependent audit form.

Dependent Audits

Insurance companies use dependent audits to weed out unauthorized dependents. You receive a letter in the mail requesting documentation of the relationship with a time frame. Fail to send in the required documentation by the time frame and your dependent coverage lapses. According to CNN Money, dependent audits could save insurance companies 4 to 6 percent on annual costs.

Qualifying Events

Most changes to your health insurance occur during open enrollment. When your life status changes during the year, you have a 60-day period to initiate changes to your health insurance. Aside from the open enrollment period, marriage, birth and adoption are qualifying events to change your health insurance. You are required to provide a marriage license to add a spouse to your insurance when claiming a qualifying event.


Ex-spouses and extended family do not qualify for health care coverage under a family health plan -- despite your divorce decree. Attempting to cover ineligible dependents could place your job at risk. If your employer requires to you to comply with professional and ethical standards, your white lie could result in a pink slip.