There are many reasons why health care coverage is inequitable in this country. Here are some ways in which unmarried people receive lesser benefit from the industry:
- Employers are free to define families as they choose, and to allocate insurance coverage accordingly- often unequally.
- Unmarried people pay higher premiums, and are responsible for higher deductibles than are the individual members of a marriage or married family.
- Greater numbers of unmarried people cannot afford health insurance. This is especially true for unmarried women who live at or below poverty level.
- There are no discounts offered to the unmarried, as there are for legally married couples and families.
- Unmarried partners are not recognized as health care decision makers without the preparation of specific legal directives.
- Employers may exclude unmarried partners from any coverage at all.
- Employers often pay the tax associated with adding spouses to medical plans; this benefit is rarely offered to same-sex married couples or unmarried partners.
This discrimination is deeply entrenched. Even though Congress passed Hospital Visitation Regulations in January 2011, individual hospitals may not recognize unmarried partners as legal representatives. For these reasons, and because of all of the stories we’ve heard over the years, Unmarried Equality is fighting to end discrimination and unfair practices in the healthcare system.