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Life After Divorce: Your Health Insurance and Your Options

Undergoing divorce is something that is hard to deal with for most couples nowadays, most especially when it comes to having an agreement for healthcare.

The best possible scenario that you can hope is staying on your soon-to-be ex’s healthcare plan until the next open enrolment; that is if things work out fine. Sadly, that is not usually the case and you could almost expect that your ex will immediately drop you from his or her insurance plan.

To smoothen things out, you can have a brief talk with one another and plan ahead on what is the best course of action. It will be very helpful for you to know if he or she is willing to carry you over the current calendar year or at least until the authorities finalized your divorce. Doing this gives you some time to find options as to what will be your next step.

On the other hand, if reaching neutral term with your partner is impossible, the best option for you is to take action right away. Grab ownership of your own healthcare coverage as soon as possible. Remember, it is better to be ready than sorry. Here are few options to help you in this situation:

COBRA

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When the two of you can’t agree on a friendly term regarding your healthcare insurance, you’re eligible for COBRA health insurance coverage, similar to any employee who loses coverage. Your ex needs to be associated with a company with more than 20 employees to be eligible for COBRA. In most states, if you’re ex is working in a small business that has under 20 employees, a mini-COBRA is available as an option.

You have to apply for COBRA coverage within 60 days after your current health insurance policy is terminated. This reinstates the same plan you have as an individual policyholder. As a downside you will have to pay for the whole cost of the insurance policy and the cost-sharing you have from your ex’s employer will not be included. This might become the most expensive healthcare plan option and it is really important to take note and do your research.

EMPLOYER HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN

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This might be a better alternative than COBRA and is more cost-efficient. The best course of action is talking through your employer’s human resource department for options. Typically, you will have to wait for a specific time of the year to apply for this through your employer’s insurance but joining after getting a divorce allows you to be part of this plan anytime. For more details, you are advised to talk to your employer’s HR specialists.

ACA / OBAMACARE HEALTH PLAN

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You are eligible for Obamacare health insurance on private marketplaces, state exchanges, and federal marketplace if you do not have an employer health insurance coverage available. A special enrollment period is available within 60 days following your divorce to get coverage. Once the 60-day period is done, you need to wait for the open enrollment period to sign up for a new healthcare insurance plan which happens usually at the end of the year.

First time seeing a bunch of health insurance plan on your own seems to be a bit daunting and you’ll always have that overwhelming feeling. However, you’ll just need to take note five important things that you must consider when doing your homework and researching for your next health insurance option. This can provide you a brief insight on what you need to do.

  • Metal Level – Obamacare Health

Insurance structure plans go by the names of precious metals as their main level, namely Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The most basic among the list is Bronze which is generally the most affordable and comes with a large deductible paired with a smaller network of doctors and facilities.

As you move across the list, you can expect a progressive benefit scheme; deductibles are lower compared to lower plans. The monthly rate is also a bit expensive. As you make your way to the Platinum plan, you’ll find that it mostly covers around 90% of your medical cost. On the other hand, a Bronze plan approximately pays 60%.

  • Network

A list of in-network doctors and facilities is also important in choosing a plan. If you are committed to your long-time family doctor or you are fond of a particular facility, you have to make sure that these are listed within the health insurance network. It is recommended to ask the health insurance company’s customer service or simply ask if your doctor or facility is part of the provider’s network.

  • Deductible

Another important note to consider is the amount of deductible linked to the plan you consider. A deductible is the amount of money that you must meet before the health insurance company pays for your medical costs.

Take a look at the plan policy and make sure you save up enough to ensure that you can pay for the gap in coverage to make way for any unexpected medical bills. You may also have the option to purchase supplemental health insurance which helps to cover your policy’s deductible.

  • Price

When you consider applying for a plan, monthly budget is not the ultimate deal breaker. However you need to make sure the monthly payments can be settled; otherwise, you might get some trouble with your health insurance company.

  • Penalty

Not availing health insurance will most likely get you fined as health insurance is required by the law. The government might charge you with a flat fee or a percentage of your income, whichever is greater.

Short-Term Health Insurance

Short term health insurance policy on a table.

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Most Americans are eligible for a financial subsidy to help lower the cost of their insurance which is also known as the tax subsidy. When looking for the right health insurance, it is recommended to calculate your subsidy provided by Obamacare tax subsidy.

If you think Obamacare is not a perfect match for your budget and you feel that your employer will present your health insurance in the near future, you may consider short-term health insurance. Here are a few things you need to know about temporary health insurance plans.

  • Most short-term health insurance doesn’t have in-network doctors or facilities which is perfect if you’re considering sticking with your family doctor or facility.
  • If you have pre-existing conditions, Obamacare or employer plan is your best bet since short-term health insurance doesn’t support pre-existing conditions.
  • You can get your plan up and run as quickly as 24 hours.
  • It can last up to six months and in some state, short-term health insurance can go as far as 12 months.

Divorce is a life-turning event and it might be best to prepare than to go out without anything in mind. You’ll have to make sure you’re always prioritizing your health and wellness all the time so you can start your new journey in life.

Health Insurance After Divorce: Legal Situations That May Affect Your Insurance

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Separated But Not Divorced

  • You may still use your spouse’s insurance evenif you’re not together and there are no restrictions. Your spouse may receive your health records associated with your medical insurance so keep that in mind.
  • A spouse can’t remove his or her partner in a shared health insurance plan until the divorce is finalized. On the other hand, primary spouse on your health insurance plan may be able to get a health insurance on their own once the plan expires.
  • Legal separation or ‘limited divorce’, it might be best to check with your state law and with your insurance company as it differs. Some may or may not consider this same as a divorce. In this instance,it is recommended talking to your attorney and your insurance company directly.

Divorce and Health Insurance Settlement

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  • Health insurance can be one of the agenda in your divorce settlement. In this arrangement, both parties can agree on a term and a possible option to cover a certain portion of the spouse health insurance. This is also a good way to talk about coverage for your children’s health insurance.

Cover Photo Credits: envestpro

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