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No matter how many years you and your partner have lived together in North Carolina, your state does not recognize common law marriages, and your arrangement can never be eligible for the benefits that a marriage confers unless/until you actually get legally married.
That means you have been informed correctly. You cannot have joint coverage under your policy. And if you're holding yourself out as a lawful husband and wife in order to get such coverage, you'd be committing a fraud and breaking the law.
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