Archive for September 28th, 2013

Divorce Brings Up Health Insurance Concerns for Many

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

A large group of people seeking individual health insurance coverage may be able to celebrate lower premiums because of the Affordable Care Act.  If you know anyone who has gotten divorced, you may be well aware of the sting that ex-spouses face when they lose their health insurance coverage because it was tied to their ex.  Each year, 115,000 women lose health insurance coverage because of a divorce.  This information comes from Marketwatch’s Elizabeth O’Brien in the article “Obamacare could ease divorce’s financial sting.”  While the overall divorce rate has slowly declined, people over 50 have seen an increasing divorce rate.  This is like a double whammy for those getting divorced and losing their health insurance because insurance is often more costly overall as you age.  Although ex-spouses are usually able to continue their healthcare through COBRA, the program is very expensive and ends in less than two years.  This leaves a lot of recent divorcees without insurance coverage, often for a long time.

Not only is it more expensive to find individual health insurance for over-50s, pre-existing conditions have excluded many of them from even being able to find an insurance plan.  The fact that they do not yet qualify for Medicare means that divorce is setting many women’s retirement goals even farther back because of health insurance costs.  When the Affordable Care Act takes full effect January 1, 2014, many of these divorcees will have good news when it comes to health insurance.  Those who were disqualified from plans will have choices for health insurance and costs should be more affordable for those who already found plans.  Attorneys have said that many older couples remain married until they are 65 just so the non-working or non-insured spouse with pre-existing medical conditions can remain on the spouse’s plan until they qualify for Medicare.

Health insurance is often a factor in divorce negotiations and was tricky in the past.  Now that health insurance exchanges will help people find affordable coverage and plan tiers will be more standardized to show out-of-pocket costs, estimating health insurance costs will be easier in negotiations.  Federal subsidies will be available to many divorcees looking for individual health insurance plans, especially if they have little to no income.  And these subsidies will be a big factor in alimony calculations since health care costs can contribute to higher alimony payments.  There are other health considerations when it comes to divorce and arranging for the division of policies.  Long term care insurance policies must be divided and those who didn’t have such a policy should consider one since they won’t have a spouse to help care for them if needed.  Many people also get a court order at the start of divorce proceeding to make sure that spouses are maintaining payments on health insurance and other insurance policies while details of a divorce are being worked out.  If you are looking for a health insurance policy because of a divorce, we have many affordable plans from which to choose.