What Harry and Meghan’s story could have looked like

How can a qualifying event lead to living in a castle?

Over the last several days, news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s baby, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor (henceforth referred to as Baby Sussex) has spread around the globe. The arrival of the baby comes almost exactly a year after the couple joined in wedded bliss in May 2018.

Speaking of wedded bliss and babies, this couple could be the prime example for those qualifying events.

What is a qualifying event? introduces a qualifying event as “a change in your situation” resulting in a “Special Enrollment Period”. They list a couple of examples:

  • getting married
  • having a baby

Using Meghan and Harry’s story as a reference, we’re going to look at these two examples, along with another less commonly discussed qualifying event: changing jobs. (Which we all know Meghan did after she left Suits to marry a prince).

Before we start, we have to issue a disclaimer: Following along will require a suspension of disbelief, where Harry and Meghan are working Americans who are eligible for pre-tax benefits. (Basically, they’re both Meghan from 2016). Ready to dig into the Harry and Meghan timeline?

The Meghan and Harry Timeline

November 2017: The couple announces their engagement.

Engagement: Qualifying event? No.

May 2018: The couple ties the knot on May 18, 2018.

Marriage: Qualifying event? Yes.

October 2018: Meghan and Harry report that they are expecting their first child in Spring 2019.

Pregnancy: Qualifying event? No.

May 2019: The couple welcomes Baby Sussex on May 6, 2019.

Having a baby: Qualifying event? Yes.

How would the couple’s story have been different with pre-tax benefits?

When marriage is the qualifying event

Let’s assume that before she married Harry, Meghan was enrolled in single plan for health coverage. Let’s also assume she was enrolled in an HSA and was contributing the maximum election for people with a single plan.

As of May 18, 2018 (the date of the qualifying event) Meghan would have been eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. A Special Enrollment Period (SEP) is a window of time outside of the standard Open Enrollment period when benefits changes must occur. (The duration of an SEP can vary between employers, but is usually between 30 and 60 days).

During the SEP, Meghan changed from a single plan to a family plan. After enrolling in a family plan*, she would be eligible to contribute the maximum election for people with a family plan.

So, once (regular American) Meghan and Harry were contributing the max to their HSA, they were thrilled. They were able to go on the honeymoon knowing that if anything happened and the new family plan couldn’t cover it, they would be able to pay for out-of-pocket costs with their HSA for two.

Back to the timeline…

When having a baby (aka “adding a dependent”) is the qualifying event:

After the birth of Baby Sussex, Meghan and Harry became eligible for another Special Enrollment Period. Thanks to their recent nuptials, they are familiar with the process and know what to expect.

This time, they take the opportunity to sign up for two new pre-tax accounts: a Dependent Care FSA and a Limited FSA.

They decide to sign up for the Dependent Care FSA as they are both actively employed. The Dependent Care Account will allow them to set aside up to $5,000 each year to put toward qualified expenses to care for Baby Sussex, like daycare.

Given that they have an HSA, they cannot enroll in a General Purpose FSA. However, they can enroll in a Limited Purpose FSA. The Limited FSA will cover their out-of-pocket expenses for vision and dental.

With an HSA, Dependent Care FSA and Limited FSA, the rest of 2019 is looking bright for the new parents.

Wedded bliss and a bundle of joy

Harry and Meghan knew that getting married and having Baby Sussex would bring them joy. They had no idea saving thousands of dollars through pre-tax benefits was also going to be a source of joy. #blessed

While we don’t have any pictures of the family saving money with their pre-tax accounts, there are lots of pictures of the new happy family.

Getting married or having a baby soon? See how your story can be like Harry and Meghan’s. Visit Benefit Resource today.


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Love Story: A Timeline, Vogue

A Definitive History of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Relationship, Town & Country

*Changes to an HSA contribution can occur at any time and do not require a qualifying event. In the illustration above, Meghan was eligible for a new HSA maximum due to the change in insurance coverage.