Marital Status Changes and Medicare: What Is the Impact?

Marriage does not determine your eligibility for Medicare, but it is helpful to understand that it can impact some factors of your coverage, particularly cost. Whether you get married after your Medicare coverage has begun or you get divorced, learn how your change in status may affect your coverage. 

New Marriage

If you were not married when your coverage was established, but you will be married soon, do not worry, your coverage will not be canceled. However, there might be a change in the amount you pay in premium coverage. Medicare costs are, in part, based on your income bracket. 

Generally, the threshold for these brackets is lower for single taxpayers than for married couples. For example, a person might be in a higher tax bracket when they are single, but when they marry, if their spouse is a lower wage earner, their income bracket could lower, as would their Medicare premium costs. However, if they are a higher wage earner, the opposite could occur.

Spousal Death

Given the above-mentioned scenario, you might assume that in the event of a spouse's death, the cost of coverage would increase as a result of a potential change in the surviving spouse's income bracket, but this is not the case. 

In the case of death, Medicare will commonly allow the surviving spouse to maintain their current coverage rate. However, there are certain stipulations. First, you must have been married to your spouse for a specified period. Second, you must remain single to maintain the current rate.


The impact of divorce on your Medicare coverage cost is similar to that of a widowed individual. Similarly, you will need to have been married to your ex-spouse for a certain amount of time, but the period is generally longer than that of a widowed spouse, and you must also remain single. As long as you remain single, you will still be able to benefit from your ex-spouse's work history. 

However, with divorce, should you remarry, any benefit in coverage cost you received based on your ex-spouse's work history will be wiped away. Instead, the amount you pay will be based on you and your new spouse's income bracket and work history.

It is important to understand that not everyone's medicare insurance situation is the same. As a result, if you have specific questions about how divorce or marriage will impact your coverage, be sure to speak with a Medicare specialist for additional assistance.