JLJ Family Law » Posts for tag 'health insurance'

How will Health Care Reform impact divorcing women

By Jody L Johnson of JLJ Family Law

Health Insurance for Divorced Women

Most women going through divorce are covered as a dependent on their husband’s health insurance; therefore, it is important to be aware of your options for coverage post-divorce.

1.         COBRA

COBRA (The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) is a federal mandated law that was designed to protect employees and their families from losing coverage as a result of divorce, death, job loss or other specified circumstances.  If your spouse’s coverage is through a company that employs at least 20 people, then you are eligible for coverage for up to 36 months post divorce.  Unless you and your spouse agree otherwise, you will be responsible for payment of the premiums which can unfortunately be significant.  As a result, many view COBRA coverage as a stop-gap option until better coverage is available.  Under COBRA, you do not continue as a dependent on the policy.  Instead, you are offered individual coverage similar to what you had as a dependent. It is fraudulent to remain as a dependent post-divorce.  It is possible to negotiate for your spouse to pay some or all of the cost of COBRA coverage either as part of the financial settlement or as a form of alimony.

2.         Current Employer

If you obtain employment and your employer offers an affordable health plan, then it is recommended that you look into enrolling in the plan.  Unfortunately, many divorced women who seek employment after divorce, find that employers either don’t offer insurance benefits or don’t offer enough hours to qualify to enroll in the health insurance program.

3.         Individual Health Plans

An individual policy may be your best or only option in some situations.  It is important to weigh the cost of the policy against the benefits and perceived need of coverage.  There are policies that are less costly for healthy individuals that basically insure against catastrophic health concerns. Essentially you would self-insure for everything else.   Try to negotiate for the cost of coverage to be factored into the settlement, especially if your cost will be much greater than your spouses cost.

What is the impact of the new Health Care Reform legislation?

The full impact is yet to be seen.  However, one important cornerstone of the new legislation that will significantly benefit divorcing women is the ability to obtain health insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions.  It is not uncommon for women of divorce to have one or more pre-existing conditions.  Those conditions can either prevent them entirely from obtaining insurance, or preventing them from obtaining insurance for the condition they most need it for.  The new legislation is designed to eliminate this impediment.  For more information about how the new legislation may affect you, please refer to http://bit.ly/az5LM7

For additional answers to questions about health insurance and divorce, please refer to http://bit.ly/bu36aW

For more information on family law solutions, visit www.jljfamilylaw.com