Health insurance is essential for people at any age. You want to sign onto a plan that will give you the best coverage for you and your family. However, what happens when your family encounters a divorce? Since there are an increasing number of divorces each year, the courts are no longer awarding health insurance. Additionally, the supporting spouse with the employer-provided health insurance no longer covers the family. In some cases where the employer-provided health coverage continues for the family, the cost is still considerably high to continue to the end of the 36 month continuation period. Currently, affordable health insurance seems to be rare. Many employer group health plans are being discontinued as more employees become out of a job. It is important to plan your health insurance in advance and know all your options to avoid this problem.
COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. This federal law helps patch up the health coverage holes that dependent spouses and children can lean on if a divorce or legal separation occurs or when a child ceases to be dependent under the employer’s health plan. There can be continuation coverage if the non-employee spouse or independent child wants to continue coverage within the time limits as well as pays the first premium in a timely manner and continues to pay premiums on time. There is a maximum period of 36 months that the continuation coverage is effective from the date of the divorce or legal separation. COBRA is a good choice if a spouse or child has a preexisting condition that would disqualify that person from getting coverage elsewhere. However, COBRA may not be the best decision for someone who is healthy and does not need much medical attention. Also, keep in mind that choosing COBRA does not mean you are dealing with the insurance company directly but with your ex-spouse’s employer. In this instance, you will be rewarded your reimbursement checks from the insurance company to your former spouse. Make sure that everything is settled at the time of the divorce or separation or you will see yourself back in court to reprimand the details.
Health insurance details and decisions should be approached as soon as possible. You have to compare between the coverage allowance and the financial cost between the current benefits of COBRA continuation, an individual policy, or any other possibility that may be available to you. COBRA is the best option if you have a pre-existing condition because that condition may not be covered for a long time or at all depending on the insurance policy. When comparing various coverages, keep in mind to compare deductibles and first dollar co-insurance. Make sure you have enough funds to pay the premiums regularly as well as health care that is not covered with the insurance policy.
If you have a family with children, make it a point to figure out what conditions a child can be covered as a dependent until he/she can be secured with a separate policy as an adult. Children with disabilities should opt for the continuation coverage. Disabled children with parents who have passed away can continue having their coverage paid. There are different options for various scenarios regarding health insurance and children.
For people over the age of 50, the difficulty of finding affordable health insurance is coupled with further questions regarding retiree health plans, Medicare, Medigap, and long-term care. If your employer has a retiree health program, you have to understand how long it will last until. With Medicare benefits, there are many gaps in the coverage policy concerning hospital and doctor bills. Long-term care is usually not covered by major medical, Medicare, or Medigap insurance. While long-term care insurance seems like a good idea, these policies are expensive and may not cover everything you need.
Whichever health insurance you decide to choose, know that it is your medical records and needs as well as your financial stability that will ultimately determine which gives the best health insurance future. When you apply for coverage, your medical records will be sent to the Medical Information Bureau, meaning if a condition you have that is an obstacle, you can use that when filing for an application.
COBRA can be complicated. Consult with an experienced attorney regarding all family law affairs.